Turn the water back on, make it safe, cancel the debt and make it affordable.

These have been the calls from many of those on the frontline of the water wars in the Great Lakes; just turn the water back on, make it safe, cancel the debt, and establish an affordability plan for low- and no-income people going forward. These calls, coming from Detroit, Flint and other cities has been heard across the world, even by the UN[i], but has not been heeded on by those with the power to make change.

Now that we are in a pandemic, we’ve all learned more about public health and how we’re all connected. Now people are suddenly hearing the call differently. Now those in power are taking action to address the impending threats of this crisis. But are the changes being made disingenuous?

Two weeks ago, in response to the impending crisis and a Joe Biden rally in Detroit, Mayor Duggan announced a program to restore water service. The state of Michigan plans to cover the $25 reconnection fee and service would be a flat rate of $25 a month through the crisis.

While it is vital that our families have access to water to wash their hands, it turns out that this program also forces residents into a plan that demands payment when the crisis is over. To get turned back on many are being made more vulnerable to past debt with no water affordability plan to keep them connected.

While it is necessary to cut checks and provide resources for those who’ve lost work and been impacted it is also vital that we immediately make systemic changes. The good news is that the people who have been pushing against this for years have also been working hard to make a strong case to do this differently. All the research has been done and real affordability plans exist that can be adopted. The resources and existing contracts for shut offs can be reallocated to turn-ons and vital infrastructure repair for safety.

These actions, and other efforts to reverse inhumane policy will greatly reduce stress on public health in Detroit, throughout the region and across state. These actions will increase the health and resilience of all people while making sure that those in poverty do not disproportionately suffer and take the brunt of this crisis. This is reasonable, logical, scientifically sound, economically responsible and humane.

Please immediately contact Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other decision makers across the state to demand that they take action to turn the water back on, make it safe, forgive the debt, and establish an affordability plan for low and no-income people going forward.

Sign the Petition

We The People of Detroit https://www.wethepeopleofdetroit.com


[i] https://www.michiganradio.org/post/un-team-says-detroit-water-shutoff-program-violates-human-rights