News Release

America’s Secret Water Crisis

MARY GRANT, via Darcey Rakestraw, drakestraw at fwwatch.org, @foodandwater
Grant is director of Food & Water Watch’s Public Water for All campaign. She is author of the new, first-of-its-kind nationwide assessment report “America’s Secret Water Crisis.” Top findings include:
   “The average water utility shut off 5 percent of households for nonpayment in 2016.

    “Among responding utilities, more than half a million households lost water service for nonpayment, affecting an estimated 1.4 million people in 2016.

    “An estimated 15 million people in the United States experienced a water shutoff in 2016.”

Grant just co-wrote the New York Times op-ed with the group’s executive director, Wenonah Hauter: “Dear Customer: We’re Shutting Off Your Water,” which states: “In several communities, water has become unaffordable, forcing families to choose between it and other essentials, like food, medicine and transportation. Detroit and New Orleans stood out in our survey. A typical water bill in those cities exceeds $1,000 a year, putting this critical service beyond the budgets of low-income households. For the poorest fifth of households in those cities, typical water bills amounted to more than 9 percent of their income. Most shut-offs happen in the South, particularly in Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, and in Oklahoma, according to our results.
“This problem is a result of decades of federal underinvestment in water infrastructure, and the inequities that have driven widening wealth and income inequality across the country.”

Also see recent AP article: “Report: More than 500,000 US households had water cut off.”