Our Great Lakes communities are heading into uncharted waters as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Protecting our health and the health of those around us is top of mind.

As local, state, and national health and safety officials respond to this crisis, the new mantra for all of us has become: wash your hands. This most basic hygiene advice is a stark reminder of the critical importance of clean water to our personal health, and the health and safety of our families and our communities. Surrounded by the Great Lakes, our region can lead by making sure everyone has access to the clean water they need right now.

We commend the cities and other government entities that are taking action to halt water shut-offs and restore residential water service during this crisis, including Cleveland, Detroit, Toledo, Akron, and many others around the Great Lakes region. We urge states to use their power, as was done in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other places, to direct water utilities under their jurisdiction to halt shut-offs and restore water services.

The deepening COVID-19 crisis reinforces the inseparable connection between water and public health. This crisis is going to take a commitment from all levels of government to ensure that everyone has access to the clean water they need, and the Alliance is ready to work with any state or local officials looking for guidance in this critical area. We also encourage you to support the many local environmental and civic organizations working directly in our Great Lakes communities to ensure all residents have access to safe, clean water.

So, what can you do to help? First, be sure to heed the advice of your local, state, and federal health and safety officials. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have helpful, easy-to-understand information on precautions against COVID-19 to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe.

Second, find ways to support your local community by donating to relief efforts and contacting elected officials to ask that water shutoffs be halted and services be restored. We’ll be using the Alliance’s social media channels to share local opportunities to get involved. You can also follow the hashtags #TurnWaterOn #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable to join the conversation on social media.

If you need help getting the word out, tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and we’ll do our best to amplify the important efforts happening in Great Lakes communities. 

Our staff around the Great Lakes region remain hard at work. We have taken steps to respond to this crisis to protect the health and safety of our staff and volunteers. Our staff are now all working from home but are accessible via their regular email and phone. We are shifting upcoming volunteer training events, community outreach meetings, and other group activities to online events. To protect the health of our supporters and communities, we have canceled all in-person volunteer events, including Adopt-a-Beach events, for at least the next month.

Thank you for your ongoing support of clean water.