NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO)- A demand for action is being made. Groups representing residents, businesses and organization are demanding Governor John Bel Edwards to grant universal access to running water during the pandemic.
Soon, 1.9 million residents could be in danger of having their water cut off. Despite being the 4th most impacted state by Covid-19, there seems to be a lag in making sure that everyone has access to clean, running water.
The groups are asking state leaders to do a 180-day moratorium or “hold” on shutting water off.
Think about how much we use water everyday, to clean, to drink and to cook. Now imagine not having clean, running water, especially during a pandemic.
“Water has always been an issue in New Orleans. I mean, even before the pandemic, 1 in 5 homes in New Orleans had delinquent bills,” shared Jessica Dandridge, The Water Collaborative, executive director. “Many people in New Orleans always complain about water here and so it needs to be on the forefront of people’s minds.”
Right now, water is not guaranteed. Now more than ever, access to water is a necessity.
“You have to think about how can people maintain cleanliness, maintain washing their hands without having access to water and that’s what we are doing,” worried Dandridge.
Taking action, The Water Collaborative in partnership with Alliance for Affordable Energy and Food & Water Action are fighting to keep water flowing.
“This letter was signed by 92 organizations including ourselves to basically ensure water access passed the stay at home mandate. Which is set to expire May 15th,” said Dandridge. “Without water as you know, you can’t wash your hands. You can’t disinfect your homes and now we have elderly children and many families staying at home and they’re at risk of losing water and having high bills that they can’t pay.”
The concern is the drastic impact that could happen if no action is taken.
“You’ll more than likely see cases sky rocket because the people who can’t afford their bills who are already in delinquent status are usually people who are in low income, light poverty. So, imagine those people doubling and tripling at this point,” said Dandridge.