the US there
are no federal regulations either guaranteeing a citizen’s right to
water or water affordability.
is already unaffordable for one of 10 U.S. households, a share that’s
forecast to triple to more than 30 percent of within five years,
according to recent research from Michigan State University.
Meanwhile, water and sewer prices more than doubled between 2000 to
2016, outpacing price increases for other basics such as electricity
in Cannon Beach, Oregon, were warned this month that their water
bills could jump 40 percent in 2017 as the city invests in repairs
and maintenance to its water systems. Sacramento residents are
bracing for bills that could jump 41 percent over five years.
And cities including Austin, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona, have seen
their water rates jump by 50 percent in the past five years
lower-income households, it could mean having your water turned off,”
said Elizabeth Mack, a researcher at Michigan State University and
co-author of the water affordability study. “When we reach
one-third of households, you are getting people who make below the
median but above poverty, or the working class. We shouldn’t be
surprised that people in poverty can’t afford anything, and that’s
a conversation that goes beyond water. But now you have people
already in the national conversation squeezed on health care and job
issues,” Mack said. “These people are getting squeezed from a
variety of cost perspectives.”
nation’s highest water costs are in Atlanta and Seattle, where
residents pay an average monthly bill of about $325 and $310,
respectively, Mack found. The average U.S. annual water bill is
$1,686, or about $140 per month.
37 percent of people in Mississippi are in danger of not being able
to afford water, based on income data from Census population tracts.
Louisiana and Alabama are the second and third most at-risk states.
Mack said that working-class Americans may end up cutting back on
eating out or going to the movies to afford water. She added,
“You think access to water is a problem only in developing
countries, but it’s becoming an issue in some parts of the U.S.”