The Washtenaw Community Action Team (WCAT), a broad coalition of organized labor, faith and community groups, supports the people of Detroit in their pursuit of affordable drinking water and sanitation in accord with the U.N.’s International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, a covenant issued in 1977, during the administration of President Carter. In WCAT’s view, the water cut-offs in the City of Detroit unfortunately reflect the deep racial divides and intractable economic and social inequality within the United States.
The burden of paying for city services has unfairly fallen onto the residents who have stayed within this economically depressed city, most of whom are African-American. These residents have seen water rates rise by 119 per cent within the last decade. With official, understated unemployment rates at a record high and the official, understated poverty rate at about 40 percent, Detroit water bills are not affordable to a significant portion of the population.
WCAT supports the basic human right of access to clean drinking water for all our neighbors. We view the present water shut-offs by the City of Detroit as a violation of a basic human rights.