Water is the essence of life. It sustains us, nourishes us, and is an integral part of our daily existence. Yet, for many Americans, the idea of living a day without water is not just a daydream but a stark reality. The Imagine a Day Without Water National Day of Action aims to shed light on the crucial importance of water and the urgent need for continuous investment in water infrastructure. We the People of Detroit is proud to stand with this movement to raise awareness about the need for access to clean, safe, affordable water for all.
The Reality of Living Without Water
While for most of us, turning on a faucet and having access to clean water is a simple convenience we often take for granted, it is essential to recognize that there are communities in the United States where this privilege is not guaranteed. Imagine waking up to no running water for drinking, cooking, or bathing, and you begin to understand the harsh reality that nearly two-thirds of Americans live with today.
The Problem: Neglected Infrastructure and Financial Divestment
One of the main culprits behind this crisis is the aging and neglected water infrastructure across the nation. The American Society of Civil Engineers' 2021 Infrastructure Report Card gave the country's water infrastructure a grade of "C-" and warned of a significant investment gap. Since the 1970s, the federal government has reduced budgetary allocations to water infrastructure from around 70% to less than 9%. This underinvestment results in leaky pipes, sewage overflows, and contamination issues that put communities at risk.
Furthermore, the lack of access to safe and affordable water disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color. It highlights systemic inequities in water provision, an issue that deserves our attention and commitment to rectify.
We the People of Detroit and Imagine a Day Without Water 2023
We the People of Detroit is joining the nationwide effort to emphasize how communities value and utilize existing water resources. We are also emphasizing the importance of bridging the investment gap to provide safe and affordable water to all.
This year's campaign, taking place on October 19, is a call to action for everyone, especially in the state of Michigan, where we are currently urging our legislative bodies to ensure that any water affordability policies include these critical protections:
Separated Funding from Benefits: The funding source must be separated from the bill package benefits
Facilitate Debt Forgiveness: Comprehensive debt forgiveness eliminates additional burdens for low-income ratepayers.
Expanded Shutoff Protections: Protections for water shutoffs must be expanded beyond those with critical health needs to include the elderly and families with school-age children and pregnant women.
Tenant Protections: The ability to enroll in the program should also be available to existing renters.
We urge individuals, communities, organizations, and policymakers to join us in raising awareness about the significance of water, the need for investment, and the importance of equitable water access. You can do so, by signing the Water Affordability Pledge or Taking Action to let your legislators know you support water affordability for all.
Water is a fundamental human right, and no one should have to imagine a day without it. The The Imagine a Day Without Water National Day of Action is a vital initiative that spotlights the necessity of investing in our water infrastructure. We the People of Detroit stands with this campaign to advocate for clean, safe, and affordable water for all Americans. Together, we can make a difference and work towards a day when clean water is a reality for every community in the United States.