The Take Away radio program with John Hockenberry at WNYC has been reporting on water issues for clean, affordable, access to water in a few U.S. cities, particularly Detroit, Flint and in Prenter, West Virginia. Listen to today’s interview with Maureen Taylor through the podcast link below.
Maureen Taylor discusses the on-going water shutoffs in Detroit and their connection to devastating decisions by Michigan Governor Snyder’s imposition of Emergency Managers in Flint and Detroit.
In Detroit, thousands of residents continue to live without residential water service and sanitation because they are too poor to afford it. Less than 75 miles northward in Flint, every single resident has been contaminated by lead and other toxins in water delivery service from the Flint River with no demonstrable relief in sight. Both cities have struggled greatly with the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the last few decades, decaying infrastructures, and sought after municipal services and assets for privatization. http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/the-takeaway-2016-02-15/
Since 2005, Detroit residents have called for a Water Affordability Program for all customers served by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, a system that serves over 100 cities and towns in Southeast Michigan and is one of the largest public water departments in the U.S. Flint was among those city customers until Emergency Managers directed by Gov. Snyder directed local officials to switch water services and draw from the Flint River.
Water is a human right. It is an indisputable need that cannot be denied to people because of their inability to pay. In 2014, United Nations Special Rapporteurs on water and sanitation, and housing visited Detroit to hear testimony on these devastating human rights violations. The Special Rapporteurs issued a statement to residents and local officials that universal covenants are clear on the human right to safe, affordable water and that governments cannot deny this life-giving resource to people, regardless of economic conditions or austerity.
MWRO is a member of the People’s Water Board, a Detroit-based coalition of nearly 30 organizations and groups in defense of water as a human right.