World Water Day is an international day of observance focusing attention on the importance of universal access to clean water for billions of people in developing countries. Access to clean water is critical not only to public health but also economic, social, and human development.
This year’s theme, "Leaving no one behind," focuses on the idea that all people must be included in and benefit from sustainable water development.
The idea of water equity – that all communities have access to safe, affordable water services and share in the benefits of those services – is just as important for those of us with ready access to clean, fresh water.
At Cleveland Water, water equity is part of our mission statement. We strive to ensure everyone in our community has access to safe drinking water and shares in the economic, social and environmental benefits of our system.
Because we strongly believe all of our customers deserve to have safe, quality water that’s also affordable, we took multiple actions to make that happen. We implemented 0% rate increases for the past three years, bill the first 1,500 gallons of water each month at a discounted rate, and offer payment plans to help customers who are behind on payments.
We also transitioned to monthly billing, making it easier to efficiently budget, monitor water usage and quickly detect water leaks. This effort has led to an overall decline in water disconnections.
In addition, we are part of the US Water Alliance Water Equity Taskforce, a network of six cities that work together to build the organizational, policy, and partnership capacity of utilities, community organizations, and other stakeholders to bend the course of our water future to be more equitable.
We’re excited to be a part of the Cleveland Learning Team, made up of leadership from community foundations, government organizations, environmental groups, and others who are committed to water issues. One of the main strategies our team will focus on is creating comprehensive approaches to addressing affordability.
Water Equity Taskforce initiatives will help us to expand on and improve existing affordability initiatives such as our Homestead and Water Affordability assistance programs so that we can reach those who need help most.
We hope that by working towards making water management more equitable, we’ll contribute to the economic, health, and social benefits that drive long-term growth for our customers.