Virginia House of Delegates Affirms Access to Water as Human Right

COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates inequitable access to clean, potable and affordable water for all

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Clean Water

Richmond, VA  Last night, the Virginia House of Delegates passed H.J. 538, a resolution recognizing access to clean, potable, and affordable water as a necessary human right. This resolution, championed by Delegate LashrecseAird in tandem with Food & Water Watch and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, paves the way for commonwealth action on the threats facing our public water supply.

This resolution comes at a critical time during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with a new working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research demonstrating the devastating effects of water utility shutoffs on COVID infection and mortality rates. Researchers estimate that a nationwide moratorium on water shutoffs between March and November 2020 would have reduced infection rates by 8.7 percent, deaths by 14.8 percent.

In response, Food & Water Watch Southern Regional Director Jorge Aguilar issued the following statement:

“With over 6,000 COVID-19 related deaths in Virginia, the case for a human right to water has never been made more clear. Water keeps us safe, provides our communities with the sanitation required to keep future health risks at bay, and waters the crops that feed us. This resolution is only the beginning in safeguarding the public right to clean water for all Virginians, and we are happy to stand with Delegate Aird in championing this resolution as it now heads to the Senate.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt – 207-400-1275, [email protected]