The Water Affordability Crisis in Baltimore | WYPR

The Water Affordability Crisis in Baltimore

Jul 23, 2018

It’s July, it’s hot, and even with all the recent rain, we’re thirsty.  But for an increasing number of Baltimore households, water -- we’re talking plain old water from the faucet -- is becoming unaffordable. On July 1st, water rates in Baltimore City rose almost 10%, the third big jump in as many years.  In fact, since 2010, the typical Baltimore household’s water and sewer bill has more than doubled. And by 2022, the typical bill is expected to more than triple.  

Some say the steep increases are necessary, because the city MUST invest in expensive infrastructure projects to provide this essential public service.  But an alarming number of families are at risk for losing their homes because they can no longer afford to pay their water bills.

Joining Tom today in Studio A:  Mary Grant.  She’s the director of the “Public Water for All” campaign for Food & Water Watch, a national organization that champions healthy food and clean water for all.

Del. Mary Washington is also here. She has represented north-central Baltimore City in the House of Delegates since 2010.  Last month, she defeated Sen. Joan Carter Conway in the Democratic primary for the District 43 Senate seat.  She is unopposed in the general election in November.

In the 2017 legislative session and again this year, Del. Washington proposed bills that would have put an end to people losing their homes in tax sales because of unpaid water bills.

Also joining us to talk about a water affordability bill being drafted for the Baltimore City Council to consider in the fall:  Lester Davis, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy and Communications for Baltimore City Council President Jack Young.