For 6 Cities on the Great Lakes, the Cost of Water Has Risen Sharply

February 11, 2019 AT 7:05 AM

By Maria Zamudio

For months, the Rev. Falicia Campbell kept a secret from her congregation, her friends and even her adult children.

It was a secret she was ashamed to divulge: She was living without running water.

Like a growing number of Americans, the 63-year-old Chicago resident couldn't afford to pay her rising water bills. She inherited her mother's house in Englewood, a poor neighborhood on the city's South Side, and last year received a $5,000 bill.

Campbell is partially blind and lives on a fixed income from disability payments. She dedicates most of her time to helping her community. Her church includes a resource center that provides food and shelter for poor and homeless people.

She couldn't pay off her water debt, and in August her water was turned off. The Chicago Water Department offered her a payment plan but required a $1,700 deposit before restoring her water. She didn't have it.

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