Washington, D.C. — Washing hands and cleaning surfaces are key measures to limiting the spread of the coronavirus, but a new column from the Center for American Progress notes that more than 2 million Americans have no access to safe and clean running water and indoor plumbing.
As Congress negotiates the latest installment in a string of COVID-19 relief packages, the column urges lawmakers to fund access to safe and clean drinking water to protect the health and well-being of all communities.
Insufficient water and sanitation services are most prevalent among the same populations with the highest infection and fatality rates from the virus—those in low-income communities, tribal communities, and communities of color. And even when households do have access to safe drinking water and sanitation services, many still struggle to pay their water bills.
As Congress finalizes its next COVID-19 relief package, it must take the following immediate actions to provide life-saving access to clean and safe water:
- Enact a national moratorium on water shut-offs and allocate $100 million to utilities to restore all residential water services nationwide
- Provide $45 million to begin removing lead from drinking water
- Dedicate funding to customer assistance programs that help low-income households pay their water bills
Read the column: “Bridging the Water Access Gap Through COVID-19 Relief” by Elise Gout and Cathleen Kelly.
For more information, or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-478-6327.