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Phoenix Takes Additional Steps to Ensure Broad Access to Clean, Safe, Affordable WaterPhoenix Takes Additional Steps to Ensure Broad Access to Clean, Safe, Affordable Water<div class="ExternalClassF994D76E018646BE9330663D63DECA47"><p>​Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego recently announced an initiative that puts water equity front and center for Phoenix Water Services.</p><p>According to the U.S. Water Alliance, water equity occurs when all communities have access to clean, safe, affordable drinking water and wastewater services; are resilient in the face of climate risks; have a role in decision-making processes related to water management in their communities; and share in the economic, social, and environmental benefits of water systems.  </p><p>Mayor Gallego stated, “Smart and equitable water management fosters opportunity for the entire community and is the right thing to do."</p><p>The announcement of the Water Equity Initiative comes after Phoenix Water asked its citizens' advisory committee to examine the issues of water equity more closely.  The citizens' committee—all representatives of the broader community—will examine current utility billing charges and procedures. </p><p>Citizens' Water/Wastewater Rate Advisory Committee Chairman Richard Rea noted, “The city of Phoenix is fortunate to have a world-class water utility committed to making certain all residents will continue to have to quality water now and in the future. The citizens' committee plays a vital role in monitoring operations and reviewing changes in the department to ensure they align with this overarching goal."</p><p>The city has a robust program to assist customers who cannot pay their City Services Bill.  The committee will consider whether this program is adequately funded.  The committee will also consider whether the city is investing properly in aging pipelines in struggling neighborhoods; the appropriate trajectory and pace of the city's water facility beautification program; and efforts to create a water workforce pipeline in the community.  </p><p>Phoenix Water Services Director Kathryn Sorensen stated, “Water equity is an important and complex subject.  We are grateful to our citizens' committee for their thoughtful, thorough consideration of these issues."</p><p>Councilmember Carlos Garcia added, “Water is the foundation of health and economic vitality in a desert city. The Water Equity Initiative shows Phoenix is continuing to move in the right direction with innovative management strategies that ensure access to clean, safe, affordable water for everyone, especially those in our most vulnerable communities."</p><p>The committee will be asked to report back their findings to City Council next fall. ​<br></p></div>11/1/2019 9:00:00 PMVielka Atherton 602.261.8681