Drinking Water

COVID-19 relief includes money for water bill debt. Will it be enough?

 •  by Lois Henry
The state Water Resources Control Board is trying to find out how much water bill debt has built up during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 relief bill passed last month includes $638 million to address the growing issue of water bill debt across the nation.

When the pandemic dug in last spring, many states, including California, issued moratoriums on household water shut offs for lack of payment.

That moratorium is still in place in California and water debt has been piling up, alarming advocates and state regulators concerned about the eventual impact on residents and the real times impacts on water companies.

Many advocate organizations that had been pleading with Congress to include water bill debt in new relief legislation were glad to see the $638 million, which may result in $60 million for California, according to Jonathan Nelson, Policy Director for Community Water Center.

But it may not be enough depending on how bad the situation is here, he said.

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