America is facing a water crisis. One in ten American households cannot afford clean water. And without immediate action, more than one in three households will not be able to afford access to clean water in the five years.
There is a solution to this crisis: fix the infrastructure.
There are approximately one million miles of pipes across the country, and most have reached or exceeded their intended lifespan. Old pipes are a real problem- there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks annually in the United States. Water main breaks thrust communities into emergency situations -- no water for cooking, showering, or drinking.
In addition to old pipes, over six million lead service lines are in use, and excessive lead levels have been found in water systems in every single state. Lead pipes are still delivering water to an estimated 15 to 22 million people in the country.
Despite the clear and pressing need for investment in drinking and wastewater infrastructure, from 2009 to 2014 federal capital spending has been largely stagnant, and state and local investment has actually decreased. Shockingly, federal funding for water infrastructure has been cut by over 70 percent since 1977.
We can no longer afford to kick this down the road- 90% of Americans receive their drinking water from a public drinking water system. Mass shut-offs in Detroit, contamination in Flint, and water main breaks across the country make it clear. It is crucial to invest in water infrastructure now.
The Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act is a comprehensive piece of legislation that would address the crisis head-on. Key components of the legislation include investing $35 billion a year in repairing and improving crucial water infrastructure, creating a grant program to support getting the lead out of school and home plumbing, and requiring the EPA to produce guidelines promoting universal access to safe water.
Sign this petition and send a message to Congress- pass the WATER Act and invest in clean, affordable water now. Because clean water is not a privilege for the rich -- it is a human right.