DETROIT (WWJ) – 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 $65 a month — much higher than the nation’s average rate of about $40.
So, what’s the solution?
WWJ Newsradio 950 listeners have been sounding off on Facebook.
Posted Kathy Ward, “This is just insane. If someone is that destitute that they truly cannot afford their water bill, there are already welfare programs in place for that. I’m guessing those same people not paying their water also have a TV, cable, I-phone, etc. People need to get their priorities straight, not expect another government handout.”
Wrote Rodney Carter, “Call President Obama he has plenty of taxpayers cash to spend. Wasn’t that a campaign promise he made along with free rent and gas and payin’ my car note…Socialism only works if there is someone to pay for it.”
Calvin Adkins added, “If there are programs available to help these families, I am all for it. God has blessed me with ability to pay my bills so being hateful towards those who aren’t able is just not in me. Yes, there are able bodies out there abusing the system. And those individuals should be sought out. But before we go after those people, how about we go after the real welfare abusers. The elected officials, oil companies, insurance companies, banks, Wall Street. Because those abusers are the biggest beneficiaries of our hard work and tax dollars. Stop kicking those who are already down.”
Join the conversation HERE.