As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 255 city and state governments in the U.S. have suspended utility disconnections resulting from past due accounts (Noor 2020). Health officials, politicians, and the American Water Works Association are further calling for a federal suspension of disconnections, citing the importance of frequent hand-washing and good hygiene as an important tool to stop the spread of the coronavirus (AWWA). This is an important step in this historic moment and many more cities and towns should heed the advice. However, water is undoubtedly essential beyond a pandemic, yet globally, three out of ten individuals lack access to safe drinking water (SDG). While 99% of the U.S. population is reported to have access to safe water, at least 2 million individuals do not (Jagannathan 2019). Given that water is essential for most aspects of everyday life, crucial for public health, and a UN-recognized human right, one can question the necessity of utility disconnections in any circumstance (UNDESA).
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