DWSD Regional Water Authority Is an Assault on Democracy and Human Right to Water


September 10, 2014
Lynna Kaucheck, Food &
Water Watch, (586) 556-8805
Tawana Petty, People’s
Water Board, (313) 433-9882
People’s Water Board
Coalition Calls Regional Water Authority an Assault Against Democracy and the
Human Right to Water
Community calls for protection and representation for all
region’s residents
Detroit, Mich. – The People’s Water Board decried Mayor Mike Duggan’s plan to create
a regional water authority as undemocratic and a threat to the human right to
water for many in the region. We have access to the largest body of surface
freshwater in the world, so it would seem abundance and access should not be an
issue. However the manner of governing this valuable resource as responsible
environmental stewards for the world has left many communities without trust.
The deal was negotiated
behind closed doors without any input from the public and is the next step on
the pathway to privatization. It takes away the rights of both the Detroit City
Council and the citizens of Detroit to have input on big decisions impacting
the system.
“Suburban customers should
not be fooled into thinking that this deal gives them more control or influence
over the water system,” said Lynna
Kaucheck of the People’s Water Board
. “The new authority will be made up of
unelected officials who are accountable to no one. People need to know that
this deal doesn’t take privatization off the table.”
Veolia Water North
America, the largest private water company operating in the United States, has
been hired to evaluate the management of the system and clearly has a vested
interest in privatization. Privatization typically results in skyrocketing
rates, decreased service quality and the loss of jobs. In fact, corporate
profits, dividends and income taxes can add 20 to 30 percent to
operation and maintenance costs, and a lack of competition and poor negotiation
skills can leave local governments with expensive contracts. In
the Great Lakes region, large private water companies charge more than twice as
much as cities charge for household water service

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. This is not the solution for
Detroit or the region.

“The regionalization plan
is unacceptable. We need a system that is accountable and transparent and that
works for all its customers,” said Tawana
Petty of the People’s Water Board
. “We want an elected board of water
commissioners. We want to reduce costs for the region through bulk purchasing
and resource sharing. And we want to implement the Affordability Plan as passed
by Detroit City Council in 2005. Detroit and suburban leaders need to protect
residents and democratize the system.”
The People’s Water Board advocates for access,
protection, and conservation of water, and promotes awareness of the
interconnectedness of all people and resources.
The People’s Water Board includes: AFSCME Local
207, Baxter’s Beat Back the Bullies Brigade, Detroit Black Community Food
Security Network, Detroit Green Party, Detroit People’s Platform, Detroiters
Resisting Emergency Management, East Michigan Environmental Action Council,
Food & Water Watch, FLOW, Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, Matrix Theater,
Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War
& Injustice, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Rosa and Raymond Parks
Institute, Sierra Club, Sisters of Mercy, Voices for Earth Justice  and We the People of Detroit.

1 Comment on "DWSD Regional Water Authority Is an Assault on Democracy and Human Right to Water"

  1. Food, shelter and water are fundamental human needs, as noted in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The US was one of the few nations to refuse to ratify this. As we see from our welfare "reform," we do not believe that food and shelter are fundamental human rights, even though they are basic human needs. One can argue that water can be obtained via public drinking fountains, bathrooms, etc., or even by rain and snow. We don't know how far this generation will go in its mistreatment of our poor.

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