Millions of People in the US Live Without Access to Safe Water

(Washington, DC, September 7, 2021) – The United States Congress should support programs that ensure everyone in the US has access to safe and affordable water, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. To advance this crucial goal, the US government should recognize that access to clean water is a fundamental human right.

The Human Rights Watch video, which features Water Equity and Climate Resilience Caucus members Susana De Anda of the Community Water Center, Monica Lewis-Patrick of We The People Detroit, and Janene Yazzie of Sixth World Solutions, says that Congress should take steps toward guaranteeing universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Congress should ensure that the infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation currently under negotiation include sufficient funding for an equity-focused water assistance program.

 

Transcript

Water. 

 

It’s more important than ever. 

 

But millions of people across the United States struggle to access safe and affordable water. 

 

Lawmakers in D.C. could ensure access to water regardless of ability to pay. 

 

But they’re fumbling. 

 

Congress has no room to fail. Communities of color have been disproportionately affected by Covid and continue to be disproportionately [affected] by paying some of the highest water bills for [unsafe] water they do not drink.

 

Millions of our families.

 

15 million that are living right now without access to water.

 

It’s a public health issue, it’s a rights issue, it’s an equity issue, and it becomes a survival issue. 

 

One of those major pillars of ensuring the human right to water is that water is affordable. 

 

It means not looking at water, and access to clean drinking water, as a privilege.

 

Never should it be a privilege.

 

But rather looking at any decisions around water development as a collective responsibility. 

 

Investing in those communities that are most impacted. Those Indigenous and tribal communities Black and brown and low-wealth communities.

 

That’s why we’re calling on Congress to pass a permanent low-income water assistance program to pay for water.

 

Water is a human right. We won’t apologize for it. I won’t ever take it back. 

 

Help tell Congress to keep water on.