#Turn Water On, #Keep Water On, and #Make Water Affordable
Here is a brief update on efforts to ensure people have access to water during the coronavirus. (If you use social media, please use the hashtags above to increase awareness.)
On Wednesday, Ohio’s legislature unanimously passed legislation that halts all future water shutoffs and restores residential water services to residents across Ohio as an emergency measure to protect public health during the COVID-19 crisis.
As a result it:
Requires a public water system to restore service to any customer whose service was disconnected as a result of nonpayment of fees and charges;
Requires a public water system to waive all fees for connection or re-connection to the public water system; and
Prohibits a public water system from disconnecting customers because of nonpayment of fees and charges.
Freshwater Future will continue to work with our community partners to ensure the water is getting turned on in a timely manner.
Junction Coalition is a strong community organization that supports families in Toledo, Ohio fighting against challenges like access to food and water due to levels of poverty. The needs of the community are being magnified during the COVID-19 crisis as unemployment skyrockets. Junction is working to ensure that non-English speaking Toledo residents have access to information and support as well. Working with Freshwater Future they are ensuring that water democracy is continued to secure affordable water rates now, and after this pandemic.
The coronavirus is hitting hard in the City of Detroit. Outside of New York and New Orleans, Detroit has the highest per capita infection rate in the country. With 1 out of 3 residents being impoverished and a high rate of diabetes, Detroiters are more at risk from the virus. In addition, thousands of Detroit residents still do not have access to running water. The City has put a moratorium on shutoffs and is returning service, but at a slow rate.
Our friends at We the People of Detroit have galvanized volunteers, with proper safety equipment, to utilize their water distribution points and are urging the City for a faster rate of restoration. Stay tuned, we’ll be sending an opportunity for you to help get water restored for all Michigan residents early next week.
The City of Chicago has an existing moratorium on water shutoffs and connected with local advocates and environmental organizations to discuss effectively restoring water to all homes. Data issues within the City, such as what homes have been reconnected which have not, are delaying re-connection and local organizations such as Blacks in Green are working to help resolve those issues.