This editorial letter originally appeared in WWD July 2020 issue as "Access, Affordability & Equity"
I've mentioned the importance of water equity and affordability before after Baltimore, Maryland, implemented a policy to that effect. They have only become more important topical given current events and protests about racial injustices in the U.S. and abroad.
Research from Dig Deep, a nonprofit organization with the goal to deliver clean and affordable water and sanitation for Native Americans, showed just how disparate water affordability and equity has become for some communities. Black households are twice as likely to not have indoor plumbing in their homes. Even more alarming, Native Americans are 19 times more likely to not have indoor plumbing in their homes.
Water equity and affordability is just as much an international issue as it is a domestic issue, and it is one WWD intends to cover more regularly by putting the voices of black, indigenous and people of color into the pages of the magazine, episodes of the podcast, Talking Under Water, and in video on the WWD website. WWD recognizes that variety in perspective is critical to advancing the industry forward and sees these issues as a critical part of editorial coverage to more holistically discuss challenges throughout the industry and the solutions to those challenges.
WWD has started that this month with a guest column about the urgency of water equity, which you can find on page 6. Additionally, I conducted a video interview with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Community Benefits Coordinator Ronak Okoye on how the utility has addressed affordability programs for its community, which you can watch