What will it take for Detroit to turn on the tap for thousands of residents facing water shutoffs?
Denied access to water. That’s the reality for thousands of residents in the US city of Detroit who have had their water shutoff because of unpaid bills. The Detroit Water and Sewage Department says it has more than $90 million in overdue payments, but residents claim they’ve been unable to keep up with the 120 per cent increase in water costs. So, is water a basic human right and should it be turned back on for those residents? And in a city where 83 per cent of the population is black, what role does race play in the shutoffs?
Detroit’s water system serves 700,000 residents within the city and approximately 4 million others in southeastern Michigan, but the city-owned water department is $6 billion in debt. As of July 1, more than $90 million was owed in overdue water bills.