Please see the following action from Food & Water Watch to send a message to Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit City Council, DWSD and Governor Rick Snyder and ask them to make water affordable in Detroit:
Aggressive Water Shutoffs Will Begin Again in Detroit This Week!
What’s at risk here is human health. We need water to keep ourselves and our families clean and healthy. When your water is shut off, you no longer have the ability to use the toilet, bathe, clean your clothes, cook food, clean your house and use life-saving medical equipment like nebulizers that help asthmatics breathe. The social stigma that comes along with the inability to pay for water is damaging to the families trying to provide for their loved ones and the children who attend school without having bathed and wearing dirty clothes. Take action today to make sure clean water is affordable for all communities.
Last year an estimated 90,000 Detroiters lost access to water. As of the end of January 2015, almost 15,000 households — an estimated 41,000 people — were still without water. This week the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) will initiate an aggressive plan to shut off water at tens of thousands of Detroit residences for the second year in a row.
Almost half of all Detroit households are more than 60 days past due on their water bills because Detroit’s water is unaffordable for most of the city’s residents. With water rates expected to rise another 12.8% on July 1, even more families will soon struggle to keep the water on. We know affordable water and sanitation are a human right — make sure Mayor Duggan, City Council and DWSD get the message by emailing them today.
DWSD’s residential water assistance plan has failed miserably. Of the nearly 25,000 customers enrolled in the plan, only 300 were able to keep up with their payments, making it clear that assistance doesn’t equal affordability. Customers don’t stay in the assistance plan because the plan isn’t affordable; as a result, money isn’t going back into the water system. An affordability plan, based on ability to pay would guarantee that money keeps flowing into the water system and that water keeps flowing from the taps of Detroit homes. Make sure Detroit’s decision makers know that assistance isn’t affordability.
Two weeks ago Detroit City Council passed a resolution urging DWSD and the Great Lakes Water Authority to suspend shutoffs until an affordability plan based on ability to pay was put in place. This is proof that our message is getting through! But we still have a long way to go until a real affordability plan is in place. The clock is ticking for thousands of Detroit families — support them by sending a message to the mayor, City Council and DWSD today!