Access to clean and safe water in the home is essential for human health and well-being but the trend of rising water costs in the United States is well established and growing. A recent national study projects that water bills could become unaffordable (i.e., exceed EPA guideline of 4.5% of annual income) for 36% of American households by 2022. SSEHRI researchers will conduct in-depth interviews with low-income Boston householders to examine the pathways through which unaffordable water bills and water shutoffs for non-payment affect the family’s physical and mental health. Attorneys at the NU Law School will analyze Boston’s water payment assistance plan to identify ways it could better meet basic human needs.  The research team will investigate alternative approaches to mitigate the effects of high water rates on public health.

This project was lead by PIs Sharon Harlan, Martha Davis, and Laura Senier.

Award Information: Northeastern University internal Tier 1 Grant, 2018-2019.