As the old saying goes: when it rains, it pours. And boy, did it pour in Detroit yesterday! Southeast Michigan streets were flooded yesterday as severe storms poured into the Motor City and surrounding areas. Backed up sewer systems and blocked drains along major streets forced vehicles to maneuver through nearly two feet of water. There was nowhere to go as cars were turned around in all directions — many becoming stuck and water-filled at underpasses, sick on dirt roads, railroad tracks and interstate highways.
A local photographer, Joe Gall captured many of these scenes.
This is all while we are in the moral fight for our lives to defend the human right to water. At least since March 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has been shutting off water weekly to thousands of residents. Information about this international violation of human rights began to get out to allies and forces all over the country. With this support, local grassroots activists and attorneys were able to force DWSD, Emergency Manager and Mayor Duggan to revamp their customer service policies and institute a moratorium on shutoffs. The shutoffs are scheduled to resume on August 25 so we are bracing for new wave of despair. Meanwhile, local groups are delivering gallons of water to homes with newborn babies, seniors with serious medical conditions and persons with disabilities.
The People’s Water Board, a coalition of over 20 Detroit community organizations, is supporting water stations, a hotline and canvassing efforts (led by We the People); challenging water shutoffs and DWSD debt in bankruptcy court (led by Moratorium Now). MWRO is still advocating for residents who’ve been shutoff that the water department won’t assist.
How can a first world nation deny water to its residents? Follow what’s happening in Detroit and we’ll show you.