Turn Running Water Back On for Thousands

Running Water

Target: Sue McCormick, Director/CEO of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department

Goal: Restore clean and sanitary drinking water to thousands of Detroit homes

Over the past few weeks, Detroit Water and Sewage Department has cut off service to thousands of Detroit residents, endangering their health and compromising their quality of life. Several community advocacy groups have appealed to the U.N. Human Rights Office and the White House for help in restoring this basic human right to impoverished Detroit homes, but no official action has yet been taken. Demand that running water be restored to Detroit homes.

Once a booming metropolis, Detroit has been wracked with poverty, unemployment, and some of the worst crime in the United States since Ford and other corporations began to outsource their labor to cheap overseas factory workers a few decades ago. Currently, the water department is responsible for about $6 billion of the bankrupt city’s massive debt. In a misguided attempt to cut costs and reduce its deficit, the water department has increased its efforts to collect delinquent water bills. Although about half of these customers have been able to scrape together enough to pay off their bills, running water was cut off for about 4,500 customers who were not able to make their payments.

This public health emergency puts thousands of Detroit residents, including children and the elderly, at risk for malnutrition and disease due to unsanitary conditions and dehydration. U.N. water and sanitation expert Catarina de Albuquerque weighed in, stating that “when there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections.”

Despite appeals for both U.N. intervention and federal relief, there has not yet been any action to halt shutoffs or restore running water to Detroit homes. Urge the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to take immediate steps to end its human rights violations and return clean, sanitary drinking water to the city’s most vulnerable populations.


Dear Sue McCormick,

It has come to my attention that the city of Detroit has shut off running water to over 4,500 Detroit homes in the past month, depriving some of Detroit’s most vulnerable residents of a basic human necessity and putting them at great risk for disease and malnutrition. End your gross violations of human rights and restore water to the homes of those who cannot pay their water bills.

Detroit’s devastating fall from glory is one of the many American horror stories of capitalism gone awry. While American-owned corporations that once employed millions of Detroit workers are still making billions in profits from outsourcing labor, former employees have either moved into the suburbs if they are able to or are left to drown in the poverty and crime left by mass unemployment.

Put the blame for Detroit’s financial ruin squarely where it belongs: in the hands of the corporations that left Detroit workers high and dry and right-wing policies that are not in the the best interests of people, but of profits.

Clean drinking water is a universal human right. We demand that you restore running water to impoverished Detroit homes along with human dignity and quality of life.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ángelo González via Wikimedia Commons

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