It’s usually not until water stops flowing from domestic faucets that we realize how much we take it for granted. Sometimes, that’s due to a temporary plumbing emergency. But for a large number of low-income households, it’s because past due bills have forced the hand of utility companies.

A lack of running water can have a huge effect on a person's quality of life, which is why The Human Utility—formerly known as the Detroit Water Project—has stepped in to help. The organization addresses delinquent water bill accounts piling up in Detroit and Baltimore and uses a donated pool of funds to pay them off.

Families in those areas with overdue bills fill out an application and provide proof of income; funds are then dispersed so their water can be turned back on. Since debuting in 2014, the project has helped nearly 1000 families, some of whom were so affected by the loss of the utility that they were drinking from neighbors' water hoses.

You can make your own (tax-deductible) donation to help a family in need on The Human Utility's website. The organization also accepts donations of time and skill from professionals like plumbers and lawyers. We may soon see similar programs spring up in other areas, especially as aging infrastructure continues to wear and water rates continue to climb, rising 41 percent in many major U.S. cities between 2010 and 2015.

[h/t Fast Company]