Late yesterday, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone and Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio released a joint statement urging water utilities across the country to stop shutting off water service for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.
This comes after Food & Water Action called for a national moratorium on water shutoffs due to nonpayment with immediate service restoration.
On Monday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit officials also announced a plan to restore water service to all Detroit residents through an assistance program and payment plan.
In response, Food & Water Action’s Public Water for All Campaign Director Mary Grant issued the following statement:
“We’re glad to see the House Democratic Leaders are making the right call when it comes to access to water. A national moratorium on water shutoffs during the coronavirus epidemic is common sense and must be a priority. Food & Water Watch’s survey of the largest water utilities in the country revealed an estimated 15 million Americans lost water service for failing to pay their bills in 2016. Access to safe and affordable water should be a universal human right at all times, but at the very least our elected officials should ensure everyone has the ability to wash their hands to help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease.
“We’re also glad to see bipartisan support to include investments in infrastructure as part of the economic stimulus response to COVID-19. In order to provide access to safe and affordable water and sanitation to every single person in this country, our water systems need a major overhaul. Passing the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act would provide the funding necessary to support universal access to safe water, create up to 1 million jobs and help stimulate our economy.”