Candidate Water Affordability Pledge

Posted on October 1, 2020 by

Affordable Water For All

Everyone needs access to safe, clean, and affordable water for life and to ensure good public health. Unfortunately, in 2016, more than 15 million Americans, or 1 out of every 20 households, had their water shut off due to being unable to pay their water bill. Pre-COVID, it was estimated that by the end of 2022, more than a third of households across the nation will not be able to pay their water bill. 

Unfortunately when families cannot pay their water bills, in most parts of the country, their water is shut-off. Shutting off water to residents in communities is a public health issue that can spread diseases and viruses like COVID-19. 

That is why Freshwater Future and All About Water, along with our partners throughout the Great Lakes region and across the country, have launched a campaign urging all 2020 candidates for local, state, and federal offices take a position on making sure every family has access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. 

All Candidates and Elected Officials Must:

  • Acknowledge that water is a public trust, the provision of water is a public good and water is not a commodity subject to privatization.
  • Situate water affordability within a broader commitment to ensuring access to clean, safe, affordable water for all.
  • Model water affordability along the lines of a sliding-scale, income-based rate system.
  • Center water affordability within a framework of preserving and maintaining public health.
  • Maintain a commitment within water affordability to principles of conservation and providing assistance to low income residents to ensure they can be proper stewards of their water resources.
  • Enshrine quality customer service as a central value along with a commitment to acknowledge the human dignity of all the people it serves.
  • Put into place appropriate ways to deal with past consumer debt, such as the policies being implemented in Philadelphia.
  • Eschew water shutoffs as a policy for being inconsistent with the values of public health and the commitment to acknowledge the human dignity of all the people it serves.
  • Ensure water assistance plans are not advertised as water affordability plans.
  • Guaranteeing tiered water pricing plans, where water is priced by volume, is not advertised as water affordability plans.
  • Ensure community justice in this water affordability platform by providing training, employment, contracting and other economic opportunities for infrastructure design, construction, operations, and management to low- and very low-income persons, especially recipients of government assistance for housing, and to businesses that provide economic opportunities to low- and very low-income persons. 

Ways to engage your candidates around this pledge

  • Attend candidate forums and ask candidates questions about how the candidate plans to make water affordable if elected and to sign the water affordability pledge. Most of these candidate forums have been moved online. 
  • Utilize social media to ask candidates questions and ask them to sign the water affordability pledge. Almost all elected officials and candidates have social media platforms and you can find them by searching their names. 
  • Reach out to the candidates directly that are running in your district, explain why water affordability is an important issue to you, and ask them to sign this pledge, a commitment to ensuring all of our families and communities have access to clean, safe, and affordable water, regardless of economic status or race. To find your candidates’ contact details, visit here.

When talking with a candidate it is important to tell in your own words why making water affordable is important to you and to ask the candidate to sign the water affordability pledge. If they decline to sign, then ask them about their concerns about signing the pledge. This information will support you in understanding where they are coming from, and may provide an opportunity to provide more information to the candidate about why making water affordable for everyone is so important.

Endorse Campaign

Organizations can endorse the 2020 Candidate Water Affordability Pledge.

Ask Candidates

Ask candidates for elected office to sign the 2020 Candidate Water Affordability Pledge.

Add Your Logo

If you would like to add your organization logo to the pledge, click here to get correct downloadable version. 

Please return all signed pledges or photos of the signed pledge to  If there are questions about these requirements or if you need assistance with adding your logo to the pledge, please email or call Kristy Meyer at 231-348-8200 x7.

Please note if you are representing a 501c(3) organization it is highly important that you provide this pledge to all candidates running in that race for legal purposes. In addition, you cannot highlight how the candidates respond in a way that seems to support one over the other candidate, as it could appear to the IRS that you are telling people how to vote. 


© 2020 Freshwater Future. All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.