40% of households in Philadelphia can't pay their water bill

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/07/invisible-water-crisis.html

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Duty cycle isn’t the right term here, you mean design life.

Baltimore residents would pay about 33 percent more for water and be charged two new fees under a three-year plan being considered by the city's Board of Estimates. The board is scheduled to hear public testimony at 9 a.m. Aug. 31.

Officials say the increases are necessary to update the error-prone billing system and repair the city’s crumbling infrastructure.

The water rate would increase an average of 9.9 percent a year. The sewer rate would increase 9 percent annually through 2019.

Add Baltimore to that list.

EDIT: The aforementioned plan, to be heard “Aug. 31” was heard and accepted (in Baltimore, these increases/changes happened last year).


“Some canary. Some coal mine.” Churchill might’ve said.


I’m not worried.
I’m going to pump my water from the nearest river.



Congressman Jason Chaffetz has recommended that in order to afford healthcare people should spend their money on it “maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on”.

I expect the same argument to be applied to water. Also electricity, heat, housing…


I always hear those words in Bernie’s voice.


The symptom is the cost of water here, not the problem. The problem is there is no one or thing that is able to hold cities/counties/states/federal accountable for failures like this. With the expansion after WWII and the 70 years since I imagine those pipes have made their cost back many times over, yet where is the replacement fund? Of course it doesn’t exist because if you run a surplus you spend it and if you need more money you can always raid the piggy bank just raise taxes or pass a bond.

I’ve heard it said you can’t financially run a government like a household…apparently they can’t. Because if you did there would be a fund to pay for this and pay for it along the way. Look at one of those rural Trump supports who lives in the middle of no where in his double wide with a well and septic system. What happens when the pump on the well fails? If he has some money saved up he buys another, if not maybe family helps out, and if nothing pans out then he’s going to be taking a shower in the gas station sink…

I don’t believe it’s a direct correlation (healthcare, water, power and an iPhone), but there is merit to the idea of having a $700 phone and having no savings. I realize a majority of Americans have very little in savings (or at least liquid ones) and I’m not sure who exactly is at fault for that. However our government(s) should be better than that.

Break the numbers down:
125 million households
50 years of payments
1 trillion dollars to maintain the system over that 50 years
That’s roughly $13.25 per household per month. Once you factor in other consumers of water (like businesses) that price would probably go down to $10 or less per household. Factor in minimal initial spending the first 30 years and you might could have gotten that down to $5. But oh fucking well.


What I hear in that comment, “Health Savings Accounts”…and IMHO, Health Savings Accounts are bullshit. Great way to institutionalize Americans handing their money to Wall Street to save for healthcare. Also, old article:



I anticipate them being applied to each other. “Well maybe you could afford surgery if you didn’t insist on living at a luxurious 90 degrees in the summer. So entitled!”

Wait, I just remembered that Fox News already literally did that.


I got well water. Free until the pump breaks.


I’m there also, and when that pump did go a few years ago, it was neither cheap nor quick to fix. Actually, It was quicker than I feared it might be, but being without water for those 2 days was amazingly inconvenient.

The well drilling people do a lot of business. There is one close to me where all the company cars are Hummers with full graphic wraps.


Just laying the groundwork for your new for-profit water company. Check out the new corporate HQ:



late stage capitalism…


too bad we spent all that cash on bombs, guns, and other war machines.


I’m afraid to ask how much. But … how much?

I can’t vouch for all the data, but I think the article is flawed. According to the City of Atlanta: the water system is municipal and not privately owned as stated in the article and the average bill for a family of 4 is more like $175, not $325. Our bill for 2 people is $50-65 per month and that’s common based on neighborhood surveys.

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Well, we didn’t go with the fancy well company, we went with Lefty, a guy in a rusty truck and coveralls. He came highly recommended by the crusty old timers. But, it’s been almost 10 years and it’s still pumping. If I recall correctly, it was about $1200 to pull the old one and put a new one down at the bottom of the well. Here it’s something like 300 feet down, but a few miles away on higher ground they have deeper wells.


At some point, maybe, we should have two water lines … one that’s great for drinking showering cooking. One that’s great for washing cars and the lawn? I think they do this outside the US in places.