Connecting Waterpeople

No Shutoffs Coalition urges Biden to establish a moratorium on water shutoffs

  • No Shutoffs Coalition urges Biden to establish moratorium on water shutoffs

A coalition of organisations is calling on Biden’s incoming administration to establish a nationwide moratorium on water shutoffs as well as other utility shutoffs, to curb the spread of COVID-19 and help Americans who are under financial pressure, reports The Guardian.

Environment, rights and faith groups – more than 600 of them are part of the No Shutoffs Coalition – have delivered a letter to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris proposing a draft Executive Order that would mandate a national moratorium on residential disconnections of all water, electricity, broadband, heat and other utility services due to non-payment. It would also include the restoration of services to homes where they have been disconnected, and last at least 12 months after the COVID national emergency ends.

Access to running water is critical as regular hand-washing is vital to slow the spread of the virus. Last year, an analysis by Duke University showed that housing security policies such as those to prevent utility shutoffs can play an important role in containing the pandemic.

Moratoria on water shutoffs have been inconsistent across the U.S., with 20 states that banned disconnections last year; currently, 11 of those moratoria have ended. At least 226 utilities which had moratoria in place have let them expire as well.

Last December Congress passed legislation including a new relief package and the 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), with $638 for a low-income assistance program that will help those struggling with their water bills, but The Guardian contends that amount is sorely insufficient given the number of households that are late paying their water bills.

Water poverty was a growing problem before the pandemic hit and exacerbated it. An investigation done by The Guardian last year revealed the extent of the water affordability crisis in the country. Rashida Tlaib, congresswoman for Michigan, supports the national moratorium and calls for lasting solutions: “We must commit to a serious long-term solution that extends beyond the pandemic, wipes out existing debt, and ensures that nobody ever lives without running water … We will defeat this virus soon, but that cannot mean a return to a ‘normal’ where people are forced to live without running water”.

Subscribe to our newsletter

The data provided will be treated by iAgua Conocimiento, SL for the purpose of sending emails with updated information and occasionally on products and / or services of interest. For this we need you to check the following box to grant your consent. Remember that at any time you can exercise your rights of access, rectification and elimination of this data. You can consult all the additional and detailed information about Data Protection.

Featured news