Support Water-For-All in Chicago

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago City Council

Every Chicago household deserves access to affordable, democratic, equitable, transparent and
just water service.

Petition by
Chicago, Illinois
Sponsored by
Chicago, IL

To: Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago City Council
From: [Your Name]

Dear Mayor Lightfoot and Members of the Chicago City Council,

We, as residents of Chicago, urge you to support Water-for-All to ensure that water service is universal, affordable, and accessible to everyone in the City of Chicago.

When the pandemic began, we were told to practice social distancing, wear a mask, stay home, and wash our hands. However, for many Chicagoans, washing their hands at home was not an option. Since 2007, Chicago has sent out over 150,000 water shut off notices and some homes still lack access to water despite the moratorium on water service shutoffs. Moreover, some residents had and continue to receive incredibly high water rates that forces them to choose between paying their water bill and other basic needs.

The city needs a long-term solution for the looming water affordability crisis. Our water and sewer rates continue to increase to pay for improvements necessary for our water to be safe and clean. The burden of these bills falls disproportionately on low or fixed-income residents. Over the last decade, a typical Chicago household’s water and sewer bill has more than tripled. The new utility tax alone added $115 onto a typical household’s annual bill.

Water-for-All will provide affordable, democratic and accessible water service by:

(1) Creating a percentage-of-income water affordability Water-for-All program for low-income households;

(2) Prohibiting water privatization;

(3) Requiring the Department of Water Management to develop a plan to ensure equitable and just implementation of capital improvements in collaboration with an advisory board of stakeholders including public health agencies and organizations, labor unions, non-profit organizations, the school district, and community groups;

(4) Improving transparency on water shutoffs, liens, and water debt; and

(5) Banning water shutoffs and tax foreclosures to collect household water bills.

The Water-for-All program will be funded by increasing water rates for industrial and commercial users.

Water is a basic human right. Universal access to safe water is essential for public health and community wellbeing. We call on you to support Water for All so that every Chicago resident may have access to safe and affordable water and sewer service.