California water groups sent a letter to the state’s representatives in Congress asking for financial assistance to water utilities and the people they serve during the coronavirus pandemic.
Signed by 59 organizations, the letter makes four main requests for Congress’s next emergency relief bill:
- $100 billion over five years for the federal government’s low-interest loan programs for drinking water and clean water infrastructure, with 20 percent of the funds marked as grants for low-income communities and investor-owned utilities being eligible for funding.
- $4 billion for grants to the states to help low-income households pay their water bills. (This is an increase from the $1.5 billion that House Democrats have proposed.)
- Funding for utilities to offset declines in revenue and the costs of reconnecting water service.
- A provision requiring utilities to suspend the disconnection of water service during the emergency period and to reconnect service to shutoff homes so that all homes have running water during the crisis.
The organizations that signed the letter represent water utilities, social justice advocates, environmental groups, and community partnerships.