We commend the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) for their decision today to put a 15-day halt to the disastrous and punitive shutoff program that has left thousands of low-income families without reliable access to clean water. This decision comes on the heels of escalating public pressure, including mass protests, direct action blockades leading to 19 arrests, and a just-filed U.S. bankruptcy court lawsuit seeking immediate injunctive relief from future shutoffs.
Looking forward, we call on the DWSD to indefinitely suspend all residential shutoffs, restore service to those families already turned off, and immediately begin work to implement an income-based Water Affordability Plan. The DWSD should also hold a week-long public event at Cobo Hall, with extended hours for working people, to give Detroiters an opportunity to enter into flexible payment plans based upon their ability to pay. The Brigade will continue to provide immediate relief to families affected by water shutoffs until the water is completely restored. The DWSD must also remain a public entity.
Finally, a big shout-out to the numerous grassroots organizations who have worked diligently to bring Detroit to this victory: the People’s Water Board Coalition, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, We the People of Detroit, and many more.