The United Nations says water is a fundamental human right. In 2014, Detroit decided differently. The city shut off water to 17,000 residents who could not pay their water bills. The government-recognized poverty rate in Detroit is 38%. United Way says the real rate is 67%.

Circle of Blue ranked the Detroit debacle as one of the top ten water stories of 2014. We agree. Here is an excerpt, followed by a link to the full story.

Detroit-Shutoff-Banner_cropThe U.S. government spends more than $450 million each year to provide water and sanitation to poor and vulnerable populations around the world. It’s the first rule of international development, and it brings health, education, and prosperity.

Yet in Detroit — a city under emergency management that is reeling from decades of deindustrialization and neighborhood decay — the poorest are losing access to water.

Roughly 17,000 residences since March have had their water shut off because of overdue bills. Meantime, residents are pushing back, taking water from fire hydrants to drink, cook, bathe, and flush their toilets, and community leaders have organized emergency water deliveries.

For full Circle of Blue story follow this link.