Unpaid water bills lead to late fees and shutoffs, threatening financial security, housing stability, and family health. As with other utilities, inability to pay for water and sewer services can also result in bills being sent to debt collectors, harming an individual’s credit history and score. Also like other utilities, after
a water shutoff a municipality may deem a home “uninhabitable” and force its occupants to move out. Unlike other utility services, however, most water service is provided by publicly owned utilities. Those utilities can not only perform shutoffs but also impose liens on homes for overdue bills, which can result in
foreclosure for as little as a few hundred dollars in water debt.