America is in crisis. American politicians are ignoring the crisis. It is not only one of race, but it is one of providing clean, affordable water to all Americans. Moreover, those in poverty are suffering the most.
First, there is George Floyd. His killing by police is a symbol of racial inequality. His brutal, slow death, is a symbol of how blacks are treated differently in our society. The video of his death shows the police officer holding his knee on Floyd’s neck while defiantly looking into a body cam. The officer’s look clearly shows us he believes he is above the law, even as he holds Floyd down while he slowly suffocates. There is no accountability.
Racial inequality is steeped in deep prejudice. However, inequality does not stop with race, inequality is economic. People living in poverty are forgotten.The poor are looked down upon, treated differently and are left to live lives without basic needs such as water.
Those in poverty are denied access to water. The crisis shows that America’s leadership is holding down its knee of the poor while they scream “I can’t drink…”
The Guardian published an exclusive study of water affordability in the United States. The findings are shocking:
“Exclusive analysis of 12 US cities shows the combined price of water and sewage increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018, with more than two-fifths of residents in some cities living in neighbourhoods with unaffordable bills.
In the first nationwide research of its kind, our findings reveal the painful impact of America’s expanding water poverty crisis as aging infrastructure, environmental clean-ups, changing demographics and the climate emergency fuel exponential price hikes in almost every corner of the country.
America’s growing water affordability crisis comes as the Covid-19 pandemic underlines the importance of access to clean water. The research shows that rising bills are not just hurting the poorest but also, increasingly, working Americans.
‘More people are in trouble, and the poorest of the poor are in big trouble,’ said Roger Colton, a leading utilities analyst, who was commissioned by the Guardian to analyse water poverty. ‘The data shows that we’ve got an affordability problem in an overwhelming number of cities nationwide that didn’t exist a decade ago, or even two or three years ago in some cities.’” The Guardian
The Guardian analysis is shocking. It is particularly shocking because the affordability crisis impacts those living in poverty the most. However, as the study shows the water affordability crisis is expanding into working class homes. Americans increasingly cannot afford a basic need, water. It appears that few are addressing the issue.
The next waive of protests may just be about water, and why people cannot afford this essential element of life. This is because, the conservative trends in politics are leaving people without assistance to pay for water. The political leadership has no time to insure people have access to clean, safe water supplies. Instead, the conservative leadership focuses on spending cuts and lower taxes, making the same broken promises the conservative leadership has made for years.
“…federal aid to public water utilities, which serve around 87% of people, has plummeted while maintenance, environmental and health threats, climate shocks and other expenditures have skyrocketed.
‘A water emergency threatens every corner of our country. The scale of this crisis demands nothing short of a fundamental transformation of our water systems. Water should never be treated as commodity or a luxury for the benefit of the wealthy,’ said water justice advocate Mary Grant from Food and Water Watch, reacting to the Guardian’s research.” The Guardian
According to The Guardian 90 Democrats are working to fund programs for clean, working water for every American. We found no evidence of Republicans making any effort to join in on the effort to insure that water is flowing in every American household.
Access to clean water must a right, not a privilege. The abundance of water on our planet is the seed of life, it is the essential element that allowed life to develop on this planet. As water becomes polluted, life is threatened.
Water is not only for the rich, water should not be a source of revenue for any government entity. Instead water should be provided in a manner that allows people access to clean water without regard to the ability to pay.
To add insult to injury, if you cannot pay your water bill, you are going to pay the price.
“Amid rising costs and diminishing federal dollars, the use of punitive measures – shutoffs and liens (a legal claim on the house linked to a debt which can lead to foreclosure) – is widespread. Just like mortgage foreclosures, water shutoffs and liens can force affected households to abandon their homes.” The Guardian
Water is being treated as an income source. If you cannot afford it, you are going to pay the punitive price. This nationwide problem is growing, and with it there will be a growing discontent among Americans. Politicians are turning a blind eye…
Where are the politicians and candidates on rebuilding our water supply systems in America? Isn’t this an infrastructure issue of paramount importance? If we invest in rebuilding water infrastructure won’t we employ people?
Where are the politicians and candidates on funding water infrastructure to bring clean water to all Americans? Isn’t this an issue of paramount importance? Isn’t access to clean water a basic human right?
Where are the politicians and candidates on providing financial assistance to make water affordable for all Americans?
Water is not on the radar screen. It is a forgotten issue. If it remains forgotten, there will be an uprising over water rights, another uprising showing how defective the American system of governance has become.
To learn more about The Guardian’s comprehensive study on water click here
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