“In negotiating trillions of dollars of infrastructure investments, Congress should at a minimum make meaningful investments in water affordability programs that uplift and empower the most affected communities to move towards universal access to water,” associate women’s rights director and water and sanitation rights specialist at Human Rights Watch, Amanda Klasing said. “Anything less is just another human rights failure with a big price tag.”

A lack of federal investment and focus on equity and nondiscrimination have worsened unequal and unsafe water conditions for many American households, unfairly affecting people who are low-income, Black, Indigenous and people of color.

Even with a growing water affordability crisis throughout the US, the federal government has been unwilling to recognize their obligation under the international Human Rights Law to Water and Sanitation. Which recognizes the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.

There are no federal mandates or federal government data regarding water affordability. However, water affordability is fundamental to the realization of the human right to water, which entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use.

Congress should use the current budget and infrastructure bill negotiations as an opportunity to advance key provisions of a humans’ right to water. This should include funding for reporting of the water affordability crisis, including water shut offs around the country for inability to pay and the racially discriminatory impact of the crisis.

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