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CWSC publishes report, "The Accessibility Trap: Maryland's Invisible Water Crisis"

Wednesday 20 March 2019

In the first report of its kind, The Center for Water Security and Cooperation identifies and analyzes the laws in Maryland that influence whether households have reliable and consistent access to water and sewer services, despite their ability to pay their bills on time and in full.

The Accessibility Trap is a household's ability to maintain access to water and sewer services from billing period to billing period despite their ability to pay. Low income households may face months where they are unable to pay their water and sewer bills on time and/or in full. In Maryland, those households have a 13% chance of living in a county where a low income rate assistance (LIRA) program (also known as a Customer Assistance Program, CAP) is offered that will help defray the cost of water and sewer bills. In the remaining 87% of counties, households may face water shutoffs, disconnection fees, interest charges, and other late fees. Later, if they are fortunate enough to be reconnected, families may also face reconnection fees and terms, such as having to be present during the business day. The additional costs and fees only heighten the burden of regaining access to water services and increase the chances that no such reconnection will be made. Download our report to learn more about the impact of local laws on equitable service provision.