Original Detroit Water Brigade Project Proposal


June 4th, 2014 By: Danny McGlashing


What: Interim water relief for residents in single family homes and apartment/condo units who’re experiencing water shutoffs

Where: Detroit, MI

Why: The Detroit Water and Sewage Department is conducting mass water shutoffs in Detroit Michigan which will effect over 120,000 account holders over a 3 month period (June-September 2014) at a rate of 3,000 per week. This accounts for over 40% of customers who are using the Detroit Water system and has been dubbed a violation of Human Rights by various organizations. 70,000 of those accounts are residential accounts which could amount to anywhere from 200,000-300,000 people directly effected. This proposal structures a plan to provide direct relief to residents who’ve been effected or will be effected during this 3 month period.

Length of Project: 18 Months – From June 2014 – November 2015


Table of Contents

Part 1: Immediate Health and Safety Issues

Part 2: Short-Term Relief Needed

Part 3: Medium-Long Term Relief Needed

Part 4: Identifying Partners-In-Relief – Localized Resource Hub Creation

  • 4.1 Partners-In-Relief (Resource Hubs)
  • 4.2 Partners-In-Relief (Volunteers)
  • 4.3 Public Campaign for In-Kind and Cash Donations
  • 4.3.1 Partners-In-Relief (Donors)
  • 4.4 Identifying and Utilizing Media Partners
  • 4.5 Committed Part 4 Volunteers Needed: (3 Social Media. 3 Tech/Website. 5 Phone and E-Mail. 3 On The Ground)

Part 5: Organizational Structure

  • 5.1 Headquarters, Steering, and Meetups
  • 5.2 Organizational Inter-Communications
  • 5.3 Social Media and Accessible Public Information (Website / Tech)
  • 5.4 Committed Part 5 Volunteers Needed: (3 Social Media. 3 Tech/Website. 2 Phone and E-Mail. 3 On The Ground)

Part 6: Deployment of Information and Resources to Residents

Part 7: Long Term Partnerships and Community Resilience.




***To volunteer for any of the spots in Parts 4 and 5, please put your name and contact info in the Volunteer brackets provided under each position. Parts in Red should be added to via google docs by the ‘Water For Detroit’ Facebook Group.



Part 1: Immediate Health and Safety Issues

1.1 Dehydration, is the first and most immediate threat to residents due to the shutoffs. A lack of clean and drinkable water on a scale of this size can effect a person almost immediately. The onset of dehydration is 1-2 days, which, if left untreated can result in death in as little as 5-14 days from the onset. This makes the availability of drinking water the first and most important relief issue – and the availability of drinking water the number one resource needed.

1.2 Sanitation. is the second concern. With lack of water for basic things like waste removal, food preparation and cleanliness of food preparation tools, disease can become a threat factor in a matter of weeks, if left unchecked disease can spread in 2 months time.

With this, the threat to health and safety becomes immediate, the resulting negative effects of mass water shutoffs begin just 2 days after shutoff and can become endemic in just 60 days time. When taking the scope into account (120,000 water accounts or 300,000+ people ) the implications become clear; this is a disaster zone – and immediate relief is needed.



Part 2: Short Term Reactive Relief Needed (1-6 months) June 2014 – November 2014

2.1. Drinkable water, by the bottle and by the gallon to combat dehydration. (see (1.1) Also: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/6NCR320UJDX8/ref=cm_sw_su_w

2.2. Cost-effective residential rain collection systems for sanitation related use. (see 1.2) Products that can be bought and delivered automatically via the Amazon registry like: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/6NCR320UJDX8/ref=cm_sw_su_w

2.3. Cash. Revenue leads (see 4.3.1) and generation for short-term relief to those in the most vulnerable position. (i.e The elderly, disabled, homes with children) and petty cash for organizational expenses.



Part 3: Medium-Long Term Reactive/Proactive Relief Needed (3-18 months) September 2014 – November 2015

Reactive Relief: Water will be shut off through the end of summer. As the fall approaches, temperatures drop – and Detroit is notorious for cold winters. Dwellings that continue to go without water into the fall and winter months also go without heat, as most heating systems cannot run without circulating water.

3.1 A continuing supply of drinkable water, by the bottle and by the gallon.

3.2 A cheap supply of 5 gallon containers and water (city tap water) for basic sanitation and food prep.

3.3 Blankets and electric blankets

3.4 Electric heaters and fire wood. A large percentage of Detroit houses have fire places

3.5 Jackets, gloves, winter hats, sweaters/sweatshirts, and thermal hand warmers.

3.6 Documentation on best heat insulation practices for the house and body.

3.7 A continuing supply of cash. Revenue leads and generation for short-term relief to those in the most vulnerable position. (i.e The elderly, disabled, homes with children) and petty cash for organizational expenses.


Proactive Relief: Providing the relief above is not only essential, it can be proactive in and of itself. Some people are only in need of short term relief and the relief above will provide a means to get those effective through a temporary situation – but what about those who may continue to need relief or who may need relief after having their water turned back on.

3.8 Payment program assistance. (Phone and E-Mail Volunteers, available assistance programs, information and documentation dissemination)

3.9 Documentation on how to temporarily drain (bleed) heating and water systems in a house to prevent damage to pipes.



Part 4: The Neighborhoods Effected and Identifying Partners-In-Relief – Localized Resource Hub Creation

Part 4.1: Partners-In-Relief (Resource Hubs): Detroit is made up of 7 districts that are home to 104 unique neighborhoods. Each of these neighborhoods has a myriad of non-profits and churches who may be willing to act as a resource hub for volunteers and/or resource distribution and storage. In Part 4 we identify these non-profits and churches who could act as a partner in relief. Potential partner-in-relief resource hub list: For Highland Park: http://highland-park.michiganpages.org/cat-22338-0.htm – For Detroit: http://detroit.michiganpages.org/cat-6194-0.htm

Partners-In-Relief do not have to be a non-profit or a church, anyone with space who’s willing to act as a resource hub within our network can. Active resource hubs will be listed centrally on our website by Level (see next)

What’s Needed From a Resource Hub

Level 1: Space for volunteer coordination (or) resource storage

Level 2: Space for volunteer coordination and resource storage

Level 3: Space for volunteer coordination, resource storage and resource distribution (residents can pick up items from here if volunteers are on-site)

Level 4: Stand alone resource hub; volunteers can coordinate and store resources here, partner-in-relief has on-site volunteers of their own and can accept and distribute resources without outside volunteers on site.

Part 4.2: Partners-In-Relief (Volunteers): We can ask any church or non-profit who’s willing to act as a resource hub if they’d be willing to offer or spread the word about us needing volunteers, but I think the biggest push will come from our efforts on social media, alternative and traditional media and mass e-mails.

What’s Needed From Volunteers

4.2.1 Phone and e-mail volunteers: who can take calls and write and return e-mails from partners-in-relief.

4.2.2 Social Media volunteers: who can update Twitter and Facebook and do SM outreach.

4.2.3 Tech Volunteers: who can maintain the website and any web related pages/registries.

4.2.4 On the ground volunteers: Local people with access to vehicles, people willing to hand out information, canvas with flyers, coordinate in-person with resource hubs and help with distribution/storage duties etc. (heavy lifting involved)

4.3 Public Campaign for In-Kind and Cash Donations

This will be 2 parts, 1 part fundraiser to cover costs in parts 2.3 and 3.7 which can be accounted for under the Occupy Solidarity Network (Check back for more info later) and one part In-Kind donations via registry pages and in-person donations to our project headquarters (see 5.1) or to any one of our resource hubs (see 4.1)

4.3.1 Partners-In-Relief (Donors)

Possible tiered perks program for donors. (ideas?) Ideas for targeted fundraising to cover costs in 2.3 and 3.7 and best ways to gain maximum In-Kind donations (from parts 2 and 3) to our headquarters and resource hubs. Donor leads list?

4.4 Identifying and Utilizing Media Partners

(We need a contact list of all local Detroit media, mainstream and alternative – and any national / international media that would be interested in our project)

We need to write up an initial press release when the time is right in order to move forward with media contacts. (more to come on this)

Part 4.5: Volunteers Needed for Part 4 (3, Social Media. 3, Tech/Website. 5, Phone and E-Mail. 4, On The Ground)

Social Media: Pretty simple, we’ll need 3 rotatable volunteers to cover social media outreach; crafting convincing messages targeted at all potential partners in relief listed above. (see also 4.2.2)

[ Volunteers: ]

Tech: We’ll need 3 volunteers to work together with all other part 4 volunteers to keep the website updated with all part 4 information.

[ Volunteers: ]

Phone and E-Mail: We’ll need 5 volunteers to work as a team making contact with and maintaining relationships with all partners-in-relief in part 4.

Overview for part 4 phone and e-mail volunteers: make phone calls and send out and receive e-mails to and from potential partners-in-relief from the leads lists in parts 4.1 and 4.3.1 using this document: (we need to create a document for phone and e-mail volunteers to read/reference to potential partners by phone, we also need to make a quick list of what info is needed from potential partners – for leads see 4.1, 4.3.1, and 4.4)

[ Volunteers: ]

Information phone and e-mail volunteers need to get from potential partners:

Resource hub partners: what length of time can they partner for: short term (1-6 months) or long term, (6-18 months) and at which level (see 4.1 levels) also the hours they can offer and if they have any volunteers who can help with part 4.2 duties.

Volunteer partners: Add Info

Donor partners: Add Info

Media Partners: Add Info

On The Ground: We’ll need 3 on the ground partners for part 4, to meet with resource hub partners, potential local volunteers, and local media.

[ Volunteers: ]



Part 5: Organizational Structure

5.1 Headquarters, In-Town Presence and Meetups

Our physical headquarters and mailing address will be the The After Party Detroit headquarters: 1514 Washington Blvd Detroit MI, 48226

Our in-town steering will be done by the steering team at the Detroit chapter of the After Party out of town steering and organization work will be done by myself (Danny) and any volunteers from our initial ‘Water For Detroit’ group who would like to join me.

Meetups are an absolute must, both in Detroit and online (more to come) Meetups replace the need for organizational top down structure with horizontal leadership, meetups locations both in person and online will also host our inter-communications.

5.2 Organizational Inter-Communications

In Person: Our HQ will act as our central in-person comms forum

Backbone: Our website will host a central, member only contact list

Online:The detroitwaterbrigade.org now has a built in social network to handle this.

5.3 Social Media and Website

For Twitter: I (Danny) have an old hurricane sandy relief account with about 3500 followers, most of them involved in disaster relief.. It’s followed by the communication heads of NASA, Red Cross and various Emergency Management depts abroad, as well as various relief orgs and agencies.. we’ll recycle that – we’ll need to find a free program that allows for others to assist in managing it without the potential for account hijacking. (Any ideas on a good program to use to manage twitter?)

For Facebook: Our facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Detroit-Water-Brigade/1417775498509538

For our Website: You’re on it, detroitwaterbrigade.org

5.4 Committed Volunteers Needed For Part 5 (3, Social Media. 3, Tech/Website. 2, Phone and E-Mail. 3, On The Ground)

Social Media: We’ll need 3 SM volunteers (these can be the same 3 volunteers from part 4) to keep the orgs SM accounts updated with meetup info, important news related to the fight to get relief and water to Detroit and important organizational information as needed. Photoshop skills are helpful.

[ Volunteers: ]

Tech: We’ll need 3 Tech volunteers (these can be the same 3 volunteers from part 4) to keep the blog updated with important organizational info i.e. meetup times and locations, relevant news related to water relief and the fight to get water to Detroit, and *to keep the website spam free*

[ Volunteers: ]

Phone and E-Mail: We’ll need 2 Phone and E-mail volunteers on standby (more to come)

[ Volunteers: ]

On The Ground: The Detroit After Party and Steering Team will cover this.



Part 6: Deployment of Information and Resources to Residents

Detroit is split up into 7 Districts, we’re going to want to keep our resource hubs separate by district, and also our info and resource deployment volunteers, this will be the most cost effective way to deploy info and resources for our volunteers and also for locals who need resources.

Ideally we’d have 5-20 volunteers with vehicles per district and one Level 4 resource hub per district. That would be 7 resource hubs in total and 140 on the ground resource deployment volunteers with vehicles, in Detroit. Essentially this is all we need to do the on the ground work after we’ve taken care of everything else in parts 1-5.

To canvas and deploy information about our presence to affected residents we can utilize local volunteers without vehicles, to acquire these volunteers we’ll have to utilize the above methods in parts 4 – we can create printable flyers unique to each district with all relevant info on them for that district and then would be volunteers who’d like to canvas their area can download and print flyers. Ideally there would be a way we could leverage the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to send these to all affected residential customers for us, doubtful but it’s an idea, in the least they can tell us who is affected so we don’t essentially canvas the entire city and waste resources in the process.

(more to come for part 6)



Part 7: Long Term Partnerships and Community Resilience.


Well ya.. when doing a project like this, it happens


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