Detroit now has an ally in the water shutoff protest; their Canadian neighbors. Protesters who caught wind of the news across the pond, made their way to place their involvement over the debate of shutoffs. Residents from both Detroit and Canada stepped up in agreement at a recent protest near the Spirit of Detroit. Their motto was clear, sending a strong message that the struggling families in Detroit need their water turned back on.
Protesters from across the globe have now gathered thousands of signatures to bring to Detroit and county officials, to stop the shutoffs from continuing any further. The plan that was put in place to hand over the signatures has now been put on hold, due to issues in reaching City County President, Brenda Jones.
The Detroit Water and Sewage Department had placed a 15-day hold on any continuing water shutoffs, due to recent news of the media reaching a global span. However, some residents don’t believe that the water department has stopped anything. Detroiters from across the city are stating that their water has been shutoff during this time period, and the water department is not holding up their end of the bargain. When asked to comment on the issue, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department stated that they had continued to shut off water, but only for commercial entities, and those who had illegally turned their water back on.
Protesters are enraged with the water department’s comments, and don’t believe their actions are true. President of the Human Rights to Water Organization, housed in Canada, Patricia Jones, stated, “[Residents] have been calling the water department and saying my water has been shut off today.” She has asked the water department to come forward with the truth, even if it means they are still shutting off the water supply.
Residents don’t believe that the water department and Detroit officials are doing enough to invoke a change in the system. They stand firmly that the money for these water bills are not available, and that the water department, however ‘understanding’ they appear to be, is not listening to the true problems of those living without water.
Mayor Duggan has expressed his views on stepping in, finding a resolution, and moving forwards in a more positive direction with the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. He also explains that there are systems put in place for those who cannot afford their bills, and those who have not looked into these areas, are still expected to currently pay their bills. To help alleviate some of the stress, Canadians will be bussing in water to Detroit residents, by the gallons.