The Daily Show last night had a great segment highlighting Detroit's ongoing water crisis. They point out that out of the $145 million dollars in delinquent water bills, nearly half is owed by commercial and municipal accounts, including the Joe Louis Arena, a local golf course, and an ice skating rink. People in Detroit pay much higher rates than the rest of the country, and continue to suffer from severe economic hardship, with 47% of mortgages still underwater at the end of 2013.
As correspondent Jessica Williams asked Detroit News' Nolan Finley: ”Is it possible that the people not paying don't want free water, they want a payment plan adjusted to their income?“
Demos fellow Wallace Turbeville, author of a Demos report on the Detroit Bankruptcy, agrees. In September, he argued, “If Detroit wants to come back from this and rebuild a strong economy, it needs to[...] start prioritizing the people who live here over the interests of Wall Street bankers.”
Not shutting off its residents' water would be a good place for the City of Detroit to start. Want to get involved? Go visit the Detroit Water Brigade for more you can do to stop the shutoffs.