Federal Legislation Introduced to Ensure Access to Affordable Clean Water for Working Families by Emily Allshouse Jun 8, 2018 Water News U.S. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) on June 6 introduced the Water Affordability Act of 2018, legislation that would help low-income families across the country pay for rising sewer and water bills. “No family should have to choose between paying for safe, clean drinking water and putting food on the table. Access to affordable clean water is a fundamental right,” said Senator Harris in a statement. “In California alone, rates for water have risen by as much as 71% in Los Angeles and as much as 127% in San Francisco within the past decade. That places a huge burden on families just trying to make ends meet, and it’s our responsibility to act.” The Water Affordability Act of 2018 would direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish a pilot program, named the Low Income Sewer and Water Assistance Program, to award grants for public water utility companies to assist low-income households with bill repayment. Eligibility for grant assistance would consider environmental risk factors and inequitable environmental burdens as part of the eligibility criteria. “ACWA is pleased to support The Water Affordability Act by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris,” said ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn. “This bill establishes a grant based pilot project to help those most in need pay their sewer and drinking water bills. ACWA represents 440 public water agencies that together supply over 90% of the water delivered in California for residential, agricultural, and industrial uses. Ensuring access to safe, reliable water is a priority for ACWA member agencies.” Text of the bill is available here.