Advocates Call on Governor Northam to Join General Assembly Resolution In Declaring Water as a Human Right

Governor’s public statement would signal to agencies need to safeguard the right to safe, potable and affordable water for all

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Clean Water

For Immediate Release

Richmond, VA — One month after the Virginia legislature voted to enshrine the human right to water for all in the Commonwealth, advocates are calling on Governor Northam to publicly support the resolution. The resolution, championed by Delegate Lashrecse Aird in tandem with Food & Water Watch and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light affirms the right to clean, potable and affordable water for all. The resolution passed both chambers at a time when water access continues to be challenging for many during the pandemic.

Just last week, new research from Cornell University and Food & Water Watch found that almost half a million COVID infections could have been prevented last year if there had been a national moratorium on water service shutoffs. In Virginia alone, the researchers estimate that almost 15,000 COVID infections could have been prevented if a statewide moratorium had been in place.

“We applaud state legislators for passing Virginia’s Water as a Human Right resolution and  believe that a similarly emphatic declaration from Governor Northam would establish critical safeguards within state agencies to ensure clean, potable and affordable water for all,” said Food & Water Watch Southern Regional Director Jorge Aguilar. “Governor Northam has been committed to ensuring water access during the pandemic and supporting this resolution now is critical to meeting the challenges our state will face in ensuring water justice in the future. 

“We are thrilled that Del. Aird carried the Water Access: Human Right Resolution and that the 2021 General Assembly passed it,” said Rev. Dr. Faith Harris, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light Co-Director. “We encourage Governor Northam, who has previously expressed the importance of water access for human health, to declare water access and affordability a priority among state agencies, especially those tasked with water management or protection assuring quality and access for all Virginia’s residents.” 

Contact: Phoebe Galt, Food & Water Watch [email protected]