Read a PDF of our statement here.

Study Explores the Intersection of Water Affordability and Race

Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) released an overview of a forthcoming report by the Thurgood Marshall Institute exploring the water affordability crisis and its devastating impact on Black communities. Water/Color: A Study of Race and the Water Affordability Crisis in Americas Cities, uses the cities of Baltimore and Cleveland as case studies to detail the spike in metropolitan water prices as well as to highlight the link between the failure to pay a water bill and the loss of Black homeownership.

“We cannot talk about the water affordability crisis without centering the conversation on its disproportionate racial impact,” said Coty Montag, Senior Counsel at LDF and author of Water/Color. “Low-income families of color are being forced out of their homes because of rapidly rising water prices. Although there have been important strides in recognizing that access to water is a human right, few studies have explored the effect unaffordable water prices have on Black communities in particular. Americans must think of this crisis not only as an environmental justice issue, but as a racial justice one too.”

Through this groundbreaking research, LDF and the Thurgood Marshall Institute hope to equip advocates with the knowledge necessary to increase access to water and sewer systems for Black families. Water/Color painstakingly lays out the evidence showing how Black communities have been disproportionately impacted by water affordability issues, and provides potential litigation and policy solutions to address the crisis.

Read the full overview here.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nations first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDFs Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.

Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.