The Maryland Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report to the Commission following a series of public meetings and collection of public testimony on water affordability in the state. In this study, the Committee sought to evaluate water access and affordability, with a particular emphasis on shut-offs and poor infrastructure maintenance concentrated in low-income communities and communities of color.
The report addresses a wide range of concerns including:
- the lack of state or national standards to guarantee affordable access to water, despite being recognized in 2010 by the U.N. General Assembly as a fundamental human right, essential to life;
- the inconsistent availability of assistance programs throughout the state;
- the near-exclusive focus on owner-occupants in allocating water discounts;
- the ongoing impact of historic racial segregation in housing on failing infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color; and
- the lack of available data on shut-offs, liens, and payment plans.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations regarding actions that can be taken to address the identified civil rights concerns.
Committee Chair Kendra Brown said, “Water is critical to our health and wellbeing, making access to affordable water a necessity for Marylanders. The report sheds light on the water affordability challenges facing Maryland communities and makes recommendations to address needed infrastructure updates.”
The Committee will host a live press-briefing to discuss the report on Wednesday, August 24, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET, in Annapolis near the State Capitol, venue TBD. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.