Water Shutoffs in Detroit
Water is a human right. Yet every week, hundreds of Detroit residents are having their water ruthlessly cut off by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, despite living on the Great Lakes, which carry one-fifth of the world’s water supply.
People are given no warning and no time to fill buckets, sinks or tubs. Families, seniors, sick and injured people and those with special needs are left without running water and working toilets, including vulnerable populations, sick people and others with special needs. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook.
The plan to cut off water to 150,000 households by the end of the summer is part of the plan to sell off and privatize Detroit’s water system. In order to make the utility attractive to investors, lower-income households are being forced to pay exorbitant rates for their water and sewer services or see their access cut. Water rates have risen in Detroit by 119 per cent in the last decade. With unemployment rates at a record high, and the poverty rate at about 40 per cent, Detroit water bills are unaffordable to a significant portion of the population.
By allowing thousands of people to be denied access to water and sanitation services, the U.S. government is violating its international obligation to respect and protect the human right to water and sanitation.