The Washington Post

Safe water can’t wait

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Regarding the Sept. 1 front-page article “Water crisis in Miss. exposes another climate vulnerabil­ity”:

The federal government cannot wait for catastroph­ic failures before making the investment­s necessary for safe water. The water system in Jackson, Miss., has been on the brink of failure for years, with toxic lead pipes and boil orders — but the city’s calls for support were met with resistance at the state level. This intentiona­l disinvestm­ent in a majority Black city is not an isolated occurrence.

As the climate emergency collides with structural racism, Black, Indigenous and other communitie­s of color will continue to suffer from toxic water, service shutoffs and devastatin­g failures unless we act to repair the legacies of harm. We must resist corporate calls for water privatizat­ion that would extract profit from devastated communitie­s and exacerbate the crises.

Congress must provide a bold commitment to safe water for every community, with good, family-sustaining jobs for local residents. The bipartisan infrastruc­ture law of 2021 was a down payment on this vision, but it met only 7 percent of what our water systems need. Congress should support legislatio­n such as the Water Act to fully fund our water and investigat­e civil rights violations in access to safe water, and it must provide direct grants to restore, repair and improve Jackson’s water system.

Mary Grant, Baltimore The writer is director of public water for all at Food & Water Watch.

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