Statement to GLWA on Affordability vs Assistance

In spring 2015, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization worked alongside the Sierra Club and Detroit People’s Platform on the Great Lakes Water Authority’s (GLWA) development of a new Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP). Through this new assistance program, customers across the GLWA region who are income-eligible could apply for payment assistance on their water bills, get help with minor plumbing problems and gain information on water conservation.

For several years, MWRO, Sierra Club and Detroit People’s Platform — along with two dozen organizational members of the People’s Water Board Coalition — have worked extensively in the community against massive water shutoffs and payment affordability problems for low income and poor Detroit residents for several years. We stated definitively that Detroit nor the GLWA region needed another short-term assistance plan that did not address long-term affordability needs.

Here you will find our eight page “Statement on Water Affordability vs. Water Assistance for DWSD Low Income Customers: Assistance is not Affordability — Metro Detroit needs affordable and accessible water and sewage rates and payment plans for vulnerable populations based on income. (May 13, 2015)

In 2005, MWRO worked with a national utilities expert and several local attorneys to draft the Detroit Water Affordability Program. It was approved by Detroit City Council in 2005 but not implemented by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. We continue to advocate strongly for the right to affordable water. Water is a human right!

We welcome your feedback and ideas. Contact MWRO at or 313-964-0618.

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