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Drinking Water

Unpaid water bills a “pending disaster” the state is trying to head off

 •  by Lois Henry
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the state issued a moratorium on drinking water shutoffs for nonpayment. But those bills will come due. PHOTO CREDIT: Lois Henry

If the state has any hope of heading off a looming “tidal wave” of residential water shut offs and bankrupt water systems it has to get a picture of current impacts, advocates urged.

Right now, the state doesn’t even have a blurry sketch.

Which is why the State Water Resources Control Board directed staff on Tuesday to begin a survey of California’s nearly 3,000 community water systems to ascertain two things: How water systems are doing financially; and how far behind water customers are on their bills because of COVID-19 job losses and illness.

The board stopped short of forcing water systems to report that information, however.

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