A study from Michigan State University, published in PLOS ONE this week, states that the number of U.S. households unable to afford water could triple in five years, if water rates continue to rise at current projected amounts.
“Water is a fundamental right for all humans,” said Elizabeth Mack, assistant geography professor at MSU. “However, a growing number of people in the United States and globally face daily barriers to accessing clean, affordable water.”
The EPA recommends that households spend no more than 4.5 percent of their income on water and wastewater services, but the MSU study found that 13.8 million households, or nearly 12 percent of all households in the U.S., spend more than they can afford on these bills.
Since 2010, water rates have increased 41 percent. If this trend continues, the MSU researchers projected that 40.9 million, or 35.6 percent of households won’t be able to afford this necessity.