QUENTINSBURGH- In light of recent heat stroke and dehydration incidents, President Rosenthal and the Freedemian Legislature passed a new federal law making drinking water free or more affordable and more accessible to all. Freedemia is the first industrialized nation to make drinking water universally free and make an effort to subsidize tap water and bottled water to make it have little to no cost to consumers.
The four-fold Water Accessibility and Water Affordability Act (WAWAA) includes an aspect making drinking water free at restaurants, fuel stations, and other public businesses, making bottled water free up to 4 gallons a week, tap water free up to a reasonable amount for daily use, and requiring public places to begin providing water fountains to keep people hydrated.
“In a region this hot, no matter how humid, people need water. We cannot make profits off a resource as important as water while the people suffer. For the health of the region, this change needed to be made. We’re the first industrialized nation to make this jump, and we hope not to be the last.”
While many were concerned about where the money for this was coming from, the change will be using money freed up by SRAFRA (Spending Reduction and Fund Reallocation Act), a bill made law by Rosenthal, VP Morganson (at the time), and the Freedemian Legislature. The bill reduced funding for presidential campaigns and reduced military spending, with the intention of using that money for education, healthcare, and transportation; Rosenthal said she believes that WAWAA would be included under healthcare.
During the creation of the law, attention was drawn to a related problem- a shortage of public restrooms in some areas. In a later interview with PWN, Rosenthal explained her findings, saying “In a hot place like Freedemia, people spending a lot of time outside have to drink way more to not get dehydrated. That means they in general have to go to the bathroom more as well. The problem is, a lot of times they can’t find a bathroom.”
While some cities like Quentinsburgh have made efforts to at least include restrooms in major subway stations and large parks, there really are no laws, not even local or town by town ordinances, requiring public restrooms, especially in open areas like parks and public squares. Business aren’t currently required to provide restrooms to anyone except their employees, so even in areas with lots of businesses and tourists, finding a restroom is often very difficult or sometimes even impossible.
Other aspects vary by city. While the QUARTA system in Quentinsburgh has restrooms at almost all underground stations and some major elevated ones, the VAULT metro system in Laneston and Vandover is completely elevated, so for the most part it has no bathrooms.
Rest stops with no bathrooms are issues as well. While new service stations are being constructed along major freeways like U-4 to help fix the issue, there is currently a 400km stretch of U-4, the busiest unionway in the nation, with 6 rest stops, none of which have public restrooms.
“It’s a real problem, and it needs to be addressed as soon as possible, especially as tourism continues to grow and our cities thrive,” Rosenthal stated. “However, we just didn’t feel like it was appropriate to address in this bill. We plan to keep it as one of our biggest priorities for new federal laws, and we hope to have one prepared by next month.”
Many, like Rosenthal, feel the easiest solution is to make it mandatory for certain types of businesses to provide restrooms to the public, not just employees or customers, seeing “customer only” restrooms as almost an unfair tax on a necessary function. “The quickest way to fix this is to just force public places with bathrooms to allow the public to use them,” she stated, when discussing solutions.
Harris Bush, a political analyst for PWN, made this final comment in response to the laws and interviews- “Freedemia is going to lead the world with accessibility to water, no doubt about that; however, they really need to catch up with providing the bathrooms people need because of all that water.”