Detroit’s Other Water Crisis

In 2014, Detroit began turning off the taps of residents who couldn’t pay their water bills—most of them poor and Black.
The pandemic has triggered a moratorium until 2022 on depriving water to those who can’t pay—but a permanent solution is still out of reach.
Detroit water rates are more than double what the EPA considers affordable. Many residents must decide daily whether to bathe, drink, or cook.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, many Black residents face similarly impossible choices with the city’s pre-pay system.
“... the same model of policies that force the poor to cover the cost of water and water infrastructure in South Africa is now being used in Detroit to pay off decades of debt.”


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