Whitmer Waiting To See Detroit Request To Declare Water Shutoff Emergency

Feb 12, 2020

The Detroit City Council could adopt a resolution soon asking Governor Gretchen Whitmer to declare water shutoffs a public health emergency. 

The council’s anticipated action was reported by The Detroit News. Civil rights groups have also been calling for a moratorium. They have been pressing the governor to address water shutoffs., and they said the problem has been building for decades. 

Sylvia Orduño is with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.

“We’ve got to change the way it is that we’re addressing the problem of low-income customers being able to pay for it, and essentially saying that we understand that water is a human right and we’ve got to find a better way to deal with it when families are struggling to pay,” she said.

Orduño said shutoffs force people to use unsanitary measures to get water into their homes. 

Tiffany Brown is the governor’s press secretary. She said the administration will wait and see what, if anything, is adopted by the council.

“At this point, we do not want to speculate on a resolution that we have not yet received. If and when we do receive the resolution, we will review it at that time,” said Brown. 

A similar request from the ACLU and other groups were denied last September by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Whitmer’s press secretary says she can not comment on the request until it’s adopted by the city council and sent to the governor.