Bills seek to ensure access to safe drinking water on Guam
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Sen. Sabina Perez has introduced two bills aimed at providing every Guam resident access to safe drinking water.
Bill 266-36 seeks to assist low- and fixed-income families with continued access to clean drinking water, while Bill 267-36, co-sponsored by Sen. Taitague, seeks to provide a fair and timely resolution of billing issues.
Bill 266-36, with the consent of property owners, would authorize Guam Waterworks Authority access to private property in order to maintain, repair, or replace water lines in a timely manner.
“The delayed discovery of and response to water leaks on a private property pose avoidable economic impacts to households and unnecessary environmental impacts to our precious water resources,” Perez said.
“Additionally, access to water infrastructure on private property will aid GWA’s implementation of a customer assistance program for low- or fixed-income households that support affordable access to clean drinking water, water conservation education, and promotes the protection of our precious water resources,” Perez added.
Bill 267-36 would create fair billing practices for utilities.
The current law requires a deposit to be placed in escrow and imposes a 9-percent interest on disputed bills before a billing dispute can be given a hearing.
The proposed measure removes both the requirements of a deposit and the interest, making a hearing on disputed bills easier to attain.
“The current laws and regulations pertaining to billing disputes are outdated and pose a barrier to customers who are seeking the prompt resolution of an issue. For low- and fixed-income customers, particularly, this measure can help prevent an unexpected financial burden, and helps assure continued access to the necessity of water," Perez said.
“As our island is experiencing the significant cost of living increases, we must ensure access to clean drinking water for our families, especially during a health emergency,” Perez said.