Ottawa —The Council of Canadians is disappointed by Michigan Bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes' decision to not implement a temporary restraining order which would pause the water shutoffs of people unable to pay their bills. Since March, the Detroit Water and Sewer Department has been discontinuing water service every week to 1,500 to 3,000 residents who cannot pay their bills.
“For some people in Detroit, this has been a long summer: camping in other people’s houses, unable to cook, bathe, and flush the toilet,” says Maude Barlow, the Council of Canadians National Chairperson, “It is appalling in wealthiest country in the world this denial of the most basic rights, water, has been allowed to go so long. We are very disappointed by this outcome, and plead to the Mayor to cancel shutoffs.”
The Council of Canadians has been supporting Detroit organizations in drawing attention to this issue. It petitioned the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation to declare the issue a human rights violation. In July, it organized a convoy of water distribution from Windsor to Detroit calling on President Obama to declare the situation a public health crisis.
The Council of Canadians envisions other actions in the near future to draw attention to the issue. Through its Blue Planet Project, it advocates that the Great Lakes be a commons and public trust, and has drawn attention to the world’s dwindling water resources, and the problems of access to water in the world.
Photo: Detroit Light Brigade, Media Commons