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Meanwhile, federal aid to public water utilities, which serve around 87% of people, has plummeted while maintenance, environmental and health threats, climate shocks, and other expenditures have skyrocketed.

What is the subject of verb has plummeted, and how can I identify subject-verb agreement in this type of sentence?

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    The federal aid has plummeted. The sentence means that government subsidies to the water companies have decreased, but the companies' costs have increased. Jun 24, 2020 at 11:53

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Meanwhile, federal aid to public water utilities, which serve around 87% of people, has plummeted...

The subject is: "federal aid to public water utilities." What probably confuses you is the addition of a supplement " which serve around > 87% of people", which interrupts the main clause; the sentence without a supplement would be:

Meanwhile, federal aid to public water utilities has plummeted...

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    Yes, but the relative clause "which serve around 87% of people" is a supplement, and supplements are not, of course, dependents.
    – BillJ
    Jun 24, 2020 at 18:24

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