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Published On: Wed, Aug 27th, 2014

Detroit set to resume water shutoffs for nonpayment as protests continue

While they carry signs “Thirsty For Justice” nearly 45% of Detroit’s 173,000 water accounts are considered past due, with 420 customers due to be denied service Tuesday.

Water shutoffs to resume in Detroit photo D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA

Water shutoffs to resume in Detroit photo D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA

The bankrupt Detroit lifted the month-long suspension of shutting off water to people who have not paid bills. Some 25,000 customers have reached payment plans with the city.

The new system seems to be working very well,” said John Roach, spokesman for Mayor Mike Duggan. The biggest changed to the payment plan program was to require only 10% of past-due balances to enter a payment plan to have water restored. The previous down-payment was 30%.

“We were able to go into our system and give them a few more days for a cushion,” Detroit Water and Sewerage spokesperson Curtrise Garner said in the local CBS coverage. “If they came down here today, they have a little more time. But people who did not come down at all — and they’re on the shutoff list — they will be shutoff.”

“We’re giving people a voucher which says that you can still qualify for the 10 percent,” Garner said. “What we also did is we looked at people’s addresses who might have had shutoff dates for today or tomorrow and we were able to give them a little more time just in case they need to make a payment arrangement or they were coming from work.

“So, again, we’re still trying to work with everyone to the best of our ability,” Garner said in the Aug. 25 article.

Detroit filed the nation’s largest-ever municipal bankruptcy last year and has struggled to manage basic services.

Protesters turned to the United Nations and International community when the initial threat of cutoff was reported.

“Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights,” the U.N. officials said in a news release. “Because of a high poverty rate and a high unemployment rate, relatively expensive water bills in Detroit are unaffordable for a significant portion of the population.”

 

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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