Food and Water Watch Protected Water Access During the Pandemic

Food and Water Watch staff and activists rallying outside of the Health and Human Services building in DC on President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office, urging him to enact a federal moratorium on water, power, and broadband shutoffs.

Too many people across the country can’t wash their hands because their water service is turned off. This endangers all of us, especially when a widely endorsed strategy to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is to wash our hands frequently.

Water must be turned on for everyone, right now, for the safety of the entire country. That’s why over the last year and half, we pushed Congress, the CDC, President Biden and governors at the state level — to demand that they stop all water shutoffs, restore water service and enact long-term solutions that ensure our water systems are funded.

Food and Water Watch working with national and local partners successfully rallied people all across the US demanding a moratorium on water shutoffs in their state and around the country. Together with 53,000 of our supporters joining us in taking action, we:

- Helped stop water shutoffs in 20 states and DC.
- Helped inspire more than 800 local jurisdictions to suspend all water shutoffs for nonpayment.
- Protected two-thirds of the U.S. population at the peak of protections last June.
- Coordinated with 80 members of congress joined our movement and released a letter led by Rep. Brenda Lawrence, demanding federal action on water.
- Joined more than 230 environmental, social justice, labor, and religious organizations from across the country sending a sister a letter echoing the demands.
- Worked with more than 830 groups to send a letter to Congress also pushing for federal action on water, along with protections for electricity and broadband connectivity access.
- Released a pivotal study with Cornell University researchers that found that water shutoff moratoria are associated with reduced Covid infections and deaths, and that a nationwide shutoff moratorium might have prevented more than 9,000 deaths and nearly half a million Covid cases last year.

This emergency has proven one thing: withholding water costs lives, and it’s time our representatives stepped up to protect us.

This work is part of our long-term efforts to ensure water access and affordability for all people. Water bills should bankrupt families or the institutions they rely on.

That’s what your support brings – a team of residents and volunteers working together, guided by our organizers and empowered by our research, legal expertise, and advocacy.

Food and Water Watch is fighting for affordable public water for all and against privatization of water. Access to clean and safe affordable water is a public health and justice issue. Because of your support, we continue to build congressional sponsors to the WATER Act to establish a trust fund of $35 billion a year permanently dedicated to our water and wastewater infrastructure, which will create nearly one million good jobs, help make water more affordable and safer, and prevent privatization of water and sewer utilities across the country.

One in three families faces unaffordable water bills that they simply can’t pay. This is why we advocate large federal investment to revitalize our national water infrastructure. During the pandemic, the dire stakes of lack of access are in stark relief, for health and people’s dignity. We will continue to push this year for a national moratorium on water shut-offs and utility debt relief, and push more communities to act for safe, affordable, public water for all. Private corporations shouldn’t be gobbling up control of water and sewer utilities, profiting off of our most basic human right and restricting public input and oversight over these essential services. And public utilities, without federal funds to help pay for crucial upgrades, are forced to continuously raise rates on families struggling to keep up. No one should worry whether they can afford their water bill or that the water is safe that runs from the faucet. This is the work we do together, so everyone can thrive.

Food and Water Watch organizers work hand-in-hand with those hurt by factory farms, water insecurity, and fossil fuel infrastructure. We deliver real results that improve people’s lives, including life-saving work to keep the water turned on in millions of homes. We fight for bold solutions to the problems we all care about. Your support makes real change possible!

Charity Name
Food and Water Watch
Photo Caption
Food and Water Watch staff and activists rallying outside of the Health and Human Services building in DC on President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office, urging him to enact a federal moratorium on water, power, and broadband shutoffs.
Photo Credit
Rihanna Eckel