Canadians Step In to Help Detroit During Water-Shutoff Crisis

Demonstrators hold signs as they protest against the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department July 18, 2014, in Detroit. The department has disconnected water to thousands of Detroit residents who are delinquent with their bills. 
Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Detroit has found interesting allies in Canada as the bankrupt city’s residents face water shutoffs due to unpaid bills in a crackdown by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

According to the Detroit Free Press, a Canadian group will be trying to send a convoy of some eight cars adorned patriotically with Canadian flags through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and carrying some 1,000 liters of Canadian tap water in a neighborly gesture of friendship.


“We needed to show solidarity with our neighbors,” Council of the Canadian’s Sujata Dey told the news site. “How could we not do something for them?”

The gesture, which is being organized by the Windsor chapter of the organization, which advocates for many causes, including clean water, has plans to make sure that the water can make it through the border check.      

According to the Detroit Free Press, the group could face difficulties under U.S. law if it tries to transport more water than what is required for personal use. Such imports usually require U.S.-government approval to make sure the water is safe for consumption.

However, according to Dey, the water will likely be divided in such a way that it can pass by without provoking such scrutiny. If push comes to shove, she has a secret backup plan.


Customers in Detroit who have two months of unpaid water bills, or a bill racking up more than $150, have been faced with water shutoffs. Recently, the execution of the shutoff plan had been put on a 15-day hold to give some residents a chance to catch up on payments or detail why they are unable to pay their bills, the Free Press notes.

Read more at the Detroit Free Press.

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