Near half of Detroit can’t pay water bills

Black city struggling

It’s a basic human right: water. But could the United Nations soon help the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department provide the service to struggling customers?

Water department spokeswoman Curtrise Garner says it’s a possibility — but for now, the water bills must be paid.

“We do have programs that do help those that are just totally in need; can’t afford it — but we also know that there are also people who can’t afford it would can not pay and we know this because, once we shut water off, the next day they are in paying the bill in full. So we do know that that has become a habit as well,” said Garner.

“At the DWAS Department — it’s not our goal to shut off water. We want people’s water on, just like they do; but you do have to pay for your water…That’s the bottom line.”

Garner said the reality is that nearly half of Detroit Water and Sewerage customers can’t pay their bills; and that has led activists to lobby the UN to step up and take action.

“If they do contact us we are willing to speak with them,” she said, adding “We owe it to the customers that are paying to collect from those that aren’t. Somebody has to pay for the water.”

And while Garner says water is “a God-given right,” she says there is a cost to move water from the water resource to the customer and that the infrastructure costs money.

According to the Free Press, the average Detroit water bill is now $75 a month — much higher than the nation’s average rate of about $40.

Source: CBS local