Mass water shutoffs in Detroit, Mich., are making news around the world. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has begun disconnecting water from households that have been unable to pay their water bills. In May alone, the DWSD served 46,000 shutoff notices and executed over 4,000. Local community leaders say the numbers are closer to 3,000 per week.
Water is a basic human right. People need water for drinking, bathing, and even flushing the toilet! At the same time the utility is issuing mass shutoff notices, it raised the cost of water 8.7 percent.
Who will be most hurt by Detroit’s water shutoffs? Individuals and families, including infants, children, people living with disabilities, people who are chronically ill, and the elderly. Their health is at risk without adequate water and sanitation. Child Protective Services must, by law, move to protect children in homes without adequate water and sanitation — children may be taken from their parents and put into foster care.
What happens in Detroit will impact tens of thousands of people and send a message to the rest of the country. DWSD is the third largest provider of drinking water and wastewater treatment services in the United States. We need to take action now to protect families in Detroit and to ensure that clean drinking water in the United States does not become a luxury good.
Take action now: Sign the statement at the link. UUSC and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) are petitioning Mayor Michael Duggan, DWSD Director Sue McCormick, and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to restore water to most vulnerable households and to stop further shutoffs to vulnerable households. Help us send a strong message to Detroit’s emergency manager and water utility director. Help stop mass shutoffs and protect residents of this great American city. Help defend the human right to water.