DETROIT, MI — As fundamental economic changes unwind in Detroit, measures created to harm the poorest section of working families are offered that challenge the basic laws of humanity in a way that has shocked many across the globe. In February through April 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department started shutting off water at the residences of low-income families who were at least two months delinquent, and $150 in arrears. Over these last seven months, some 17,000 households were targeted and the number of those still without water, unable to manage a payment arrangement to restore them, is a close-kept secret. The rise of technology that has gutted the urban workforce along with the rise of banks who have openly packaged deals leaving the City hemorrhaging with properties families could not afford, has caused a level of pain no one has ever experienced.
To add injury to this engineered insult, the Director of the Detroit Health Department was sent a letter asking that they state what medical problems might surface should water be disconnected at thousands of Detroit addresses. Only the Nurses Union out of Los Angeles found the courage to speak out on what dangers lie in such practices. The following information clarifies just what dangers can be found if water is turned off.
Water is necessary for human survival. The human body cannot survive past three days without water. This is why children cannot live in a home with no water service. What about the adults? Here are a few of the symptoms of dehydration which all develop before three days without water. Extreme thirst. Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults. Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes. Little or no urination—any urine that is produced will be darker than normal. Sunken eyes. Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold. In infants, sunken fontanels—the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head. Low blood pressure. Rapid heartbeat. Rapid breathing. No tears when crying. Fever. In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness.
We do not need this debate in our society, especially in Detroit with fresh water surrounding us on all sides and potable water available from the tap at a low cost for all. Those who can pay should pay, those who cannot pay need a water affordability program on a sliding fee scale at no more that 2.5% of annual income. Those in arrears must be contacted personally since many lack the means of contacting the Water Department. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that families spend no more than 2.5% of their pretax income on water and sewage but, after the recent price increases, some Detroit residents pay 20% of their pretax income for these services.
Society is here for cooperation and development of human beings and to release us from immediate survival needs so we can improve ourselves with culture and education. Depriving people of access to water constitutes a crime against humanity and will cause preventable deaths and destruction of families in our beloved Detroit—Mayor Duggan: Turn The Water Back ON!