Many Baltimore residents have lost their homes, or access to running water in their homes simply because they cannot afford to pay the city's ever-increasing water rates. When households cannot afford to pay their water bills, the city shuts off their water service or sends their homes to tax sale. The city needs a water affordability program as one in three households are unable to afford the increasing service rates. The astronomical increases will disproportionately threaten the financial livelihood of many of the city's low-income, elderly and of-color residents.
The astronomical increases will disproportionately threaten the financial livelihood of many of the city’s low-income, elderly and of-color residents.
Residents of Baltimore deserve a tangible solution to affordable water access for all. An income-based water affordability program that takes into account the varying levels of economic status and water usage amongst residents could ensure a well-funded water and sewer department and water access for all. Water accessibility and affordability are human rights necessary to ensure public health and thriving communities. As the United Nations declared in 2014: "It is contrary to human rights to disconnect water from people who simply do not have the means to pay their bills".
As Baltimore plans to invest nearly $2 billion in water and sewage infrastructure over the next five years, the city has the opportunity to set a precedent for equitable water and sewage services. For more information on the necessity of a just water-service affordability program, read the fact sheet.