A caravan of Canadians descended on Detroit Thursday with 1,000 liters of tap water to rescue residents after city officials shut off water to thousands of homes because the bills were overdue, according to ABC News.
The Canadian benefactors drove 11 vehicles to Michigan’s cash-strapped city to protest Detroit’s decision to cut off water service to 7,200 residents. After stopping at City Hall to vent their frustration, the crew delivered the water to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where it will be dispersed to residents.
Once the Canadian water supply runs out, “we’ll be filling gallon jugs from our tap,” the Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman of St. Peter’s told ABC News. Until then, the water will be stored behind the church’s sanctuary and will be available to anyone whose water service was terminated.
In an effort to increase revenue to the bankrupt city, Detroit Water and Sewage Department ramped up its payment collection efforts by cutting the number of days bills can go unpaid before service is shut off. The 7,200 shutoffs in June are up dramatically from just 500 in March, ABC News reported.
People who owe at least $150 on their water bill or are more than 60 days behind on payment lost their water under the new policy. The water department is owed a total of $90 million in outstanding payments, with the average resident owing $540, according to ABC News.
The Canadians’ efforts comes after the city announced a 15-day “pause” in water shutoffs, to give customers time to set up payment plans and catch up on their past-due bills.
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