Article courtesy of The Guardian
How can it be that in the midst of a pandemic, children living in the richest country in world history are being poisoned by tap water? For decades, our government has put corporate profits ahead of guaranteeing its people the right to clean water. We have neglected the most basic public investments to keep Americans healthy and safe. Now, as America battles an unprecedented public health crisis, we can no longer continue along a course in which companies have been allowed to buy up, privatize, and profit off a basic human right. The solution is not more privatization – it is for Congress to end decades of neglect and immediately invest billions into our public water systems so that we can finally guarantee clean drinking water to everybody.
That’s why we joined with Representative Ro Khanna to introduce the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (Water) Act. This comprehensive legislation would provide up to $35bn per year to overhaul our water infrastructure across the nation.
Unbelievably, when it comes to water infrastructure, America’s challenges resemble those of a developing country. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives our drinking water infrastructure a “D” grade and our wastewater infrastructure a “D+”. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that raw sewage overflows at least 23,000 times each year. Up to 1.7 million Americans lack access to basic plumbing facilities such as a toilet, tub, shower, or basic running water. Almost 200,000 households have absolutely no wastewater system. Up to 10m homes across America get water through lead pipes. Six years since the start of its water crisis, Flint still does not have clean water. Meanwhile, in Denmark, South Carolina, families are forced to travel 20 miles each month in order to collect clean drinking water.