How Detroit’s Water Problem Became a Humanitarian Crisis

Public Health Is at Stake When You Cut Off People Who Can’t Pay

Attorney Alice Jennings in her office in Cadillac Tower.  Detroit, MI, 2015.

The United States needs a national water affordability law. Such legislation would require each state to have its own statute protecting access to water for low-income people and those below poverty level. To understand why such protection is necessary nationwide, consider the humanitarian and public health crisis in Detroit.

According to our best estimates, over 53,000 thousand Detroiters, residential customers of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), have had their water and sewerage abruptly terminated since January 1, 2013, with the biggest wave coming in the spring of 2014. Of …

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