A new article from the Guardian explains how many Americans are experiencing rising water bills. Many households cannot afford their bills and are having water cut off or risk being disconnected from water sources.

In 12 United States cities, the price of water and sewage increased an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018. In some neighborhoods, two-fifths of residents cannot afford bills. This reality is being compounded with the coronavirus pandemic and its associated economic issues. This crisis intersects with climate change, infrastructure issues, demographic shifts, and environmental changes in different parts of the United States.

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In Austin, Texas, bills increased 154%, where the average annual bill was $566 in 2010, it was $1435 in 2018. Public aid for water utilities has been cut while maintenance and other costs have risen exponentially. Droughts and water shortages in places like Texas and Arizona only exacerbate the issue.

The Guardian published a report on many aspects of the water crisis, including affordability and infrastructure issues. Based on current trends, it seems clear that soon many people will not be able to afford water. Infrastructure needs, including those to anticipate climate change’s effects, are a significant cost that the federal government is ignoring.

“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 a commodity or a luxury for the benefit of the wealthy,” said water justice advocate Mary Grant from Food and Water Watch.

Read more about water in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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