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Dear family, friends and acquaintances,

On behalf of the residents of Detroit and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO), allies and supporters are asking individuals, organizations, and human rights defenders to sign a petition asking President Obama, Michigan Governor Rick Synder, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to intercede immediately and tell Detroit Water and Sewage Department to stop the massive water shutoffs in Detroit.

In October 2014, MWRO hosted a visit of two UN Representatives, Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Sanitation and Safe Drinking Water and Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. The UN experts visited some of the families that experienced the shutoffs and during a press conference at the end of the three day fact finding mission Ms. Albuquerque was quoted as saying, “It is contrary to human rights to disconnect people from water who simply do not have the means to pay their bills”. I heard stories from poor African American families who were forced to make impossible choices-“to pay the water bill or pay their rent”

Facts on the Detroit Water Shutoffs

In March 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced it would begin an aggressive water shut-off campaign, disconnecting service for 1,500 to 3,000 city customers every week for nonpayment. This process has continued in 2015.

  • More than 33,000 Detroit households—an estimated 90,000 people—lost water service for nonpayment during 2014.
  • Nearly 14,000 households—an estimated 38,000 people—remained without water service at the end of 2014.
  • About 77,000 residential customers—45 percent of households—were more than 60 days past due on their water bills and faced losing water service, as of December 31, 2014. They owed an average of $554.

Please take a minute from your busy schedules and sign the petition.  Please encourage all you know to sign the petition!  Post the link on your websites and place it in social media. On the weekend of May 29-May 31, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization will host an International Gathering of Social Movements on Water and Affordable Housing. See attached notice for more information or visit

In solidarity,

Rob Robinson

#StoptheShutoffs

#WaterisaHumanRight

Support the Human Right to Water

Sign the petition!

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