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Politics & Government

Petition aims to stop water shutoffs in Detroit

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A group in Detroit hopes that 158,000 signatures will be enough to persuade city officials to stop shutting off water to residents. 

The People's Water Board Coalition has been working on a petition over the summer that has three main goals: stop water shutoffs in Detroit, restore household water to those living without, and implement a water affordability plan. 

"Water is just not affordable in the city," Laura Kaucheck of Food & Water Watch said. "And I mean that's a real crisis when roughly 40% of the city can't afford their water bills because they're living at or below the poverty level." 

The group believes that because water is unaffordable, the residents who aren't able to pay should not be punished with water shutoffs.

Instead, they should be helped to create a payment plan to prevent shutoffs in the future. 

"Children are going to school without being able to have breakfast, or bathe, or wash their clothes," Kaucheck said. "That's when it becomes a health issue, as well."

They aren't asking for free water, according to Kaucheck. They are asking for compassion from city officials who are deciding how to rule on a temporary restraining order filed against the city of Detroit to prevent further shutoffs. 

A decision is expected to be announced Wednesday. 

–Paige Pfleger, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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