Washington, D.C. – As of last night, the end of August, moratoria on residential water shutoffs expired in three new states and more than a dozen large municipalities. About 57 million people have now lost these protections during the COVID crisis, and in total, 53% of the U.S. population is currently unprotected from home water shutoffs due to unaffordable bills. Meanwhile, the COVID pandemic is escalating in numerous regions across the country.
Today, Maryland’s comprehensive statewide moratorium on water shutoffs expired, and state moratoriums for regulated investor-owned utilities expired in Illinois and North Carolina. Additionally, local water shutoff moratoria just expired in more than a dozen localities, including Las Vegas, Nevada; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
In response, Food & Water Action’s Water Campaign Director Mary Grant issued the following statement:
“As the pandemic rages, tens of millions of vulnerable Americans have been stripped of protections from home water shutoffs. This is not only immoral and cruel, but also illogical and unwise from a public health perspective. Since so many state leaders won’t protect their residents, it is imperative that Congress act now and ensure water service for all Americans – at least until this pandemic is safely behind us.”
Meanwhile, recent polling released today by Climate Nexus and Yale and George Mason Universities found that 63 percent of voters support a nationwide pause on water shutoffs to homes and businesses that are behind on water bill payments during the pandemic.
Contact: Seth Gladstone - sgladstone[at]fwwatch[dot]org, 917.363.6615