“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink!”


This is one cause that happened in the Detroit area this past summer and just showed me how intolerant people can really be when I posted a couple of articles in several online newspapers and was flabbergasted at the negative and nasty comments about helping people with this problem.

The latest news:

Water Authority Sticker Shock: Suburbs to See Double-Digit Rate Hikes

The last thing Detroit or the suburbs needs is a major water increase when there are millions of dollars still unpaid by corporations and business who seem to know the “right people”.

The largest proposed rate increase in years is due to take effect July 1, 2015 as Detroit water department shifts to a regional water authority.

Water customers in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb will face increases of as much as 11.3 percent under a proposal made Monday by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to make up a $25 million shortfall last year from declining water sales. Proposed increases are even stiffer in Detroit – 16.7 percent – where thousands of water customers were in arrears on their water bills and faced shutoffs to collect $89 million in delinquent accounts, including about $43 million on 80,000 residential accounts. The largest proposed increases in years, they’ll take effect July 1, 2015 as DWSD transitions to a regional water authority created to help Detroit lessen the impact of pension cuts as it prepared to exit bankruptcy.

First Post:

United Nations Says Turning Off Poor Detroiters’ Water Violates Human Rights.
By Joyce Richey (Open Post) July 13, 2014 at 5:38pm

According to the Detroit Water Brigade, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department is conducting mass water shut offs in Detroit which will affect over 120,000 account holders over a 3 month period (June-September 2014) at a rate of 3,000 per week, at the height of high temperatures and humidity.

Critics say that DWSD has been unnecessarily aggressive in pursuing delinquent accounts since it began ramping up shutoffs in April. Williams said the department has shut off accounts of families with young children, as well as houses with the disabled and elderly residents.

Nearly 50 percent of DWSD’s accounts are behind on payments, according to the department, and Detroit’s already-high water prices are on the rise, now averaging $75 a household — almost double the national average. “Over the past decade, Detroiters have seen their water rates increase by 119 percent,” Conyers said in a statement. “Over this same period, forces beyond city residents’ control — including a global financial crisis that left one-in-five local residences in foreclosure and sent local unemployment rates skyrocketing — severely undercut Detroiters’ ability to pay.”

The water department says it needs to shut off the water to recoup some $175 million in outstanding bills. But DWSD has also been accused of ignoring the commercial and industry accounts — like a golf course that owes $437,000, the state of Michigan itself, which owes $70,000, disposal and cycling, waste energy, investments groups, and a cemetery being amount the top 40 highest outstanding bills — while going after people who owe as little as $150 on their accounts, and a lady in her 80s that was only one day late in making her payment.

“There are families that have gone months and months without water,” Mia Cupp, the director of development at nonprofit Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, told the Free Press. “You can only imagine, how do go to the bathroom? How do you take showers? How do you clean yourself? …. You can’t conduct the normal daily things that you would do.”
Pastors, Community leaders and others have been arrested blocking gates and trucks to stop Detroit water shut-offs.
No human being should be denied access to water despite attempts of certain people wanting to “privatize” water so they can make more money. Water is the basis of life itself.

A group from Windsor, Ontario, crossed the border to deliver 1,000 liters of water in a display of support for Detroit residents. Protests have been held outside DWSD’s offices every Friday since the shutoffs began.

If you want to help the people in Detroit, please donate water (be it a case, or a 5 or 10 gallon bottle), donate funds, volunteer to deliver water to the people being forced to live without it, donate purification tablets, open a resource hub, or volunteer in other ways through this link: http://detroitwaterbrigade.org/. For more on the Detroit Water Brigade’s efforts, call 1-844-42-WATER.

Second Post:

By Joyce Richey (Open Post) July 23, 2014 at 7:05pm

The water problems of Detroit is NOT just a Detroit problem. According to the Detroit News, metro Detroit suburbanites will pay much more than they expected for water and sewage services with most communities planning double-digit hikes for the next several years to pay for improvements to the aging water and sewer system, which serves 126 municipalities from Monroe County to Flint. Average rates are going up 12.5% with communities like Eastpointe going up 30%, New Baltimore, 24%, Grosse Ile Township, 17%, and Taylor, 15%..

Approximately 5,000 Detroit residents and allies from across the country marched in protest of the water shutoffs and prices from the Cobo Convention Center to Hart Plaza near the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department this past Friday.
According to three U.N. experts that the shutoffs could constitute a violation of the human right to water.

“Disconnections due to non-payment are only permissible if it can be shown that the resident is able to pay but is not paying,” Human right to water and sanitation expert Catarina de Albuquerque said in a statement issued from the United Nations in Geneva. In other words, when there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections.”
Atty. Jerome Goldberg, also stated about the Detroit water problem:

“In 2011, there were bonds floated in total of a billion dollars to fix the infrastructure ,but $537 million went instead to pay off interest rate swaps to JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Morgan Stanley and (other financial institutions),” Goldberg said. “The banks were rewarded. More than half of the money for infrastructure went to banks. (Now) we’re talking about raising rates on Detroiters and going through with tens of thousands of shut offs.”Cicely McClellan also says emergency management is the cause of the shutoffs, and states “ there are two sets of laws operating in Detroit. They are disproportionately cutting off citizens, the low income, the elderly, children, who need the water and allowing large corporations not to pay their water bills. It’s a sin,”

The aging and neglected water and sewers have caused torrents of water spew ing from broken pipes in Detroit’s Crosman School, flooding down stairs before warping tiles. No one even knows how long this flooding has been taking place since the school was closed in 2007. It’s not the only empty structure where city water steadily fills basements, floods streets, or runs into the gutter, wasting money and creating safety hazards. There are thousands upon thousands of vacant buildings and no one even knows how many of these are leaking in the darkness as the water department claims to not have enough workers to check every structure. This steady waste of water can be seen from the frozen photos taken this past winter in the slideshow and if something isn’t done, it will continue throughout the summer and into next winter and beyond.
Too often for those of us who live in Wyandotte, we take our lower bills for granted because we have our own water department, while the majority of our neighboring communities are being hit hard with rising costs in a poor economy and shortage of jobs, and are at the mercy of politicians, and big business.

NOW is the time to take a stand to help our neighbors by contacting the Detroit Water Brigade to help with donations, or to volunteer our services. Call, e-mail or write to your local and state representatives – make your voice heard. It is a sad commentary to see people taking empty buckets to fill from garden hoses from the homes of people with water so they can simply have something to drink or to bathe themselves.

Detroit Water Brigade (844) 42-WATER or go to: http://detroitwaterbrigade.org.

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