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Study: Baltimore's water crisis has detrimental impact on black residents

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jun 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 10:12:04-04

BALTIMORE — The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund released a report that shows that Baltimore's water crisis disproportionately affects black communities.

Tuesday, local leaders presented the findings from Water/Color: A Study of Race and the Water Affordability Crisis in America's Cities.

It found that water rates in Baltimore are rising faster than the national average. It also found that Baltimoreans who face the most detrimental impacts of rising water bills are black.

Leaders and advocates are calling for Baltimore to pass the Water Accountability and Equity Act.

"Generally water services are considered unaffordable if families must spend more than two percent of their incomes on their bills," said Coty Montag, Senior Counsel, NAACP LDF. "In almost half of the census tracts in the city, nearly all of which have a predominately black population, families have to pay between 2 and 4 percent of black medium income on water services. In a few neighborhoods, again which are all nearly majority black, families have to pay eight percent of black median incomes on their water bills."

The report also shows that in recent years, Baltimore has become more aggressive in handling delinquent water and wastewater accounts, and the dispute process likely violates constitutional due process protections.