Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris is proposing a law to safeguard access to clean water for everyone, including minority communities like those in Flint, Mich., most at-risk for being without.
“Every American has the right to clean water, period,” the California Democrat said in announcing the Water Justice Act, the Hill reports. “We must take seriously the existential threat represented by future water shortages and acknowledge that communities across the country—particularly communities of color—already lack access to safe and affordable water.”
The bill would provide about $250 billion for programs to ensure the nation’s water supply is clean, safe and affordable.
In addition, the bill, being sponsored in the House by Michigan Reps. Brenda Lawrence and Dan Kildee, whose district includes Flint, would provide $50 billion to pay for testing and fixing areas near communities and schools where toxic water is found, the Associated Press explains, as well as $10 billion to help low-income families pay their water bills.
“My hometown of Flint knows all too well the consequences of failing to invest in our drinking water systems,” Kildee said, NBC 25 reports. “No family should ever have to worry if the water coming out of their taps is safe, and unfortunately that is a reality for many communities across the country.”
As the AP notes, the people of Flint have been dealing with toxic water in their community that came about in 2014 when authorities decided to use water from the Flint River as a drinking-water source, while California has its own water problems due to pollution.
The timing of the bill’s rollout also comes as Harris will be among Democratic presidential candidates speaking this week at the NAACP’s national convention taking place in Michigan, and ahead of the Democrats’ second set of debates July 30-31 in Detroit.