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OWASA, local governments promote aiding water payments through Care to Share Day


The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro declared Nov. 16 as Care to Share Day to promote Orange Water and Sewer Authority's program to help residents pay their water bills.

The program was first established in 1997 when OWASA partnered with the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service to further its longstanding commitment to affordable water and wastewater services.

This year’s Care to Share Day was the fifth annual celebration of the program, during which both towns encouraged their citizens to donate to Care to Share.

Through the program, individuals can donate to OWASA, either in a lump sum or in addition to their monthly bill. The funds are then distributed to help pay the water bills of struggling families in Orange County.

Katie Hall, the public information officer for OWASA, said that, even though the program may seem simple, it is so important because of the role water plays in daily human life.

“No matter what someone's going through, they should never have to go without clean water. It's a basic human right,” she said. “It's something that makes us feel the most human, to simply have access to water that we know is healthy for us to drink.” 

Hall also said Care to Share is a great program for individuals who are looking to make a direct, positive impact on their community. 

“The reason that I think the program is so fantastic for folks around here who are looking for a way to give is because you're giving directly to our community, and you're giving in a way that goes directly to something so important,” she said

Last year, the Care to Share program raised and gave out over $23,000 for direct financial assistance to nearly 150 households in the county to pay for at least one month of their water bill.

Hall said OWASA’s partnership with IFC is crucial in giving out the funds raised by Care to Share because IFC is so visible within the community.

“Members of our community who are experiencing hardship or maybe chronically experience hardships in their life know and are familiar with IFC,” she said. “They know to go there when they're having trouble because IFC has a plethora of great programs to help serve them.”

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said the donation program is particularly important because OWASA is unable to provide discounted rates based on income due to state law.

“Other than finding these kinds of opportunities for individuals to contribute on their own, there's not really a way for this system to support lower-income members of our community,” Seils said.

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said the Town partnered with OWASA and IFC to declare Care to Share Day in order to increase awareness of the program.

“We're just all trying to increase awareness of this opportunity for people,” she said. “It's a painless way to donate, to round up your bill or add $5 more per month.”

She said giving security to individuals in the community when it comes to something as simple as their water bill can allow them to live a better life.

“It reduces that fear of, 'Can we keep our water running? Can we keep our lights on?'” Hemminger said. “Not having to make those kinds of choices and being able to support their families and have a better life — it's better for everyone.”

@DTHCityState |

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