Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ensuring Access to Water as Shutoff Moratoriums Lift

Published: July 2020

Authors: Morgan Shimabuku, Sarah Diringer, Laura Feinstein, Peter H. Gleick, Lillian Holmes, Greg Pierce, Gregg Brill, and Hannah Baleta

Pages: 8

 

Overview

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic sparked a nationwide discussion around the practice of water utilities disconnecting service to households that are unable or fail to pay their bills, as this places affected households and their communities at greater risk of transmitting COVID-19. In response, many water utilities, governors, and state legislatures in the U.S. placed temporary moratoriums on water service disconnections.

As these moratoriums lift, solutions are needed to ensure the most vulnerable members of communities are not disconnected from essential water services for lack of ability to pay, while allowing utilities to regain or maintain financial stability. This Issue Brief identifies practical approaches that water utilities and state and federal government can take to maximize water access while preserving utility revenue and preventing excessive debt accumulation.

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