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Chicago’s water prices are skyrocketing faster than other Great Lakes cities

Over the past decade, the cost of water in Chicago has tripled – the fastest rate of increase among six Great Lakes cities examined by WBEZ and American Public Media in a joint investigation of rising water costs in the region.

The sharp spikes in water costs have hit poor families the hardest. For many residents, water bills skyrocketed faster than they could keep up. There is more than $210 million in unpaid water bills. The Chicago Department of Water Management has shut off water service to tens of thousands forcing them to live for a time without water–a necessity some call a basic human right.

Water shutoffs are disproportionately concentrated in low-income, mostly black and mostly Latino neighborhoods in Chicago. Nearly 40 percent of the shutoffs were concentrated in just five of the city’s poorest ZIP Codes on the South and West Sides. The most shutoffs – about 17,500 – occurred in a far South Side ZIP Code that encompasses the Riverdale, Roseland, Pullman and West Pullman communities. Riverdale has the lowest median household income of any community area in Chicago…Please click here to read  Maria Ines Zamudio’s story in WBEZ News.

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