Yesterday began th Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s suspension of their controversial shutoffs for 15 days in order to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.

“In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” said Bill Johnson, department spokesman. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.”

The decision came on the same day a group of Detroit residents filed a lawsuit asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to restore water service to residential customers.

The residents, backed by a coalition of activist and community groups, allege that the city is violating the constitutional rights and contractual rights by shutting off water for those who owe back payments.

“Water provided through public utilities is a necessity of modern life and continued access to it is a property right accorded due process protections,” the group said in its lawsuit filed with the court Monday.

The lawsuit was filed by 10 residents along with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, People’s Water Board, the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network and Moratorium Now!

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  • Eduardo

    I wish I had an answer for Detroit’s woes. I find it inspiring to read about residents telling their stories of survival in a war zone / forsaken land like Detroit.

  • First, I want to send my total respect for the activists protesting against the water shutoffs. Their courage and their activism has been inspiring and an excellent display of standing up against oppression. The Detroit water shutoffs have been an atrocity against human life. The 15 day temporary suspension of the shutoffs is very disrespectful to the plight of citizens of Detroit. This came about because of the pressure sent to the emergency manager and the other people controlling Detroit. Obviously, this is a pause not a real moratorium. We know the truth about this situation. Nearly 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and the constant rate increases have made Detroit water bills among the highest in the nation. Many want to privatize the public resources in Detroit. The activists should continue to make their voices heard and fight for real short term and long term solutions for the city of Detroit.