Jun 24 2014
A federal judge in December granted the city of Detroit bankruptcy protection for about $18 billion worth of debts. While the city has been able to seek protection from its more than 100,000 creditors, ordinary residents, 40% of whom are living in poverty, are now being denied water in order to balance the city budget.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has already turned off water supplies to 7,000 residents and is now threatening to stop providing water to thousands more who cannot pay their water bills. Meanwhile, politicians have voted to increase water rates by almost 9 percent. In desperation, city activists have turned to the United Nations for help, asking the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation to investigate the city’s plans on privatizing the water supply.
Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s Emergency Manager has gotten several bids to privatize Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department which is currently facing a $5 billion dollar shortfall. Yet Detroit residents have had their water bills more than double over the last ten years.
GUEST: Marian Kramer, President of the National Welfare Rights Union. She has been actively organizing and educating about water issues in Detroit for 15 years and was featured in a documentary called The Water Front, which focuses on the struggle against the privatization of the Highland Park water system, a small municipality in Detroit
Marian Kramer recommended that concerned listeners called the office of the Mayor of Highland Park at 313-852-7320 or Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan at 313-224-3400.