The human right to safe and affordable public water and wastewater service is a hot button topic in Baltimore, so when the city government faced a ransomware attack rendering the online water billing system unusable, it was like pouring fuel in flames.
The water crisis in Baltimore is only getting worse, and residents have responded by doubling down on efforts to pass a bill that would ensure every single Baltimorean has access to water and wastewater service regardless of income level. The Water Accountability and Equity Act, introduced by Ex Officio Mayor Jack Young is the comprehensive, forward-thinking legislation residents need to ensure basic water and wastewater service is available and affordable for all.
Right now, Baltimore's public works department has not issued water service bills for more than 3 months. They have not offered any concrete action for residents who now have impending bills adding up to between $300 and $400. Instead of committing to passing the Water Accountability and Equity Act in light of such extreme water billing struggles, the city keeps giving hollow budgeting advice to "set aside money."
Many residents who live paycheck to paycheck do not have the leisure of setting aside money and instead need the government to provide them with a concrete plan to mitigate the growing size and stress of these water service bills. Even when issued on time monthly, water service bills already pose an affordability problem for Baltimore's most vulnerable. This ransomware attack should serve as a reminder to elected officials that Baltimoreans face a water crisis that demands an urgent response.
Effective action is a long time coming and Baltimoreans need a rehaul to their water and wastewater service billing program. Anything less would be a stunted, inadequate failure and an affront to the human right to water.
Tweet your support for The Water Accountability and Equity Act at Baltimore's Mayor here: