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  • Writer's pictureYouth Energy Squad

Water Justice, Detroit Water Shut-Offs During COVID-19

Water shut-offs have been a growing issue in Detroit since 2014, when the city began shutting off the water to people's homes with unpaid water bills. Since then thousands of households have had their water shut off. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, where washing hands and personal hygiene is one of the major precautions that should be taken to slow the spread of the virus, water shutoffs are being brought into the spotlight. As of March 9th, the City of Detroit put in place a plan to turn the water back on for households for a reduced cost of $25 a month.

Age Group: grades 9-12 Supplies: none

Time: 30 minutes


  • Better understand what Detroit is doing to combat water shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Critically think about what water shut-offs mean for environmental justice in Detroit

Read the following article from March 27th carefully. When you’re done look over and answer the reflection questions.


Reflection Questions

  • Considering the importance of washing hands and general hygiene in preventing sickness, do you feel the city of Detroit is resilient against the threat of disease and illness?Resilience: the ability to bounce back, or recover quickly from a negative situation or experience

  • What could Detroit do to be more resilient?

  • Think about who is most affected by water shutoffs in Detroit. What groups or demographics are most impacted?Demographic: a particular group of a population. Men, people aged 18 and below, and millionaires are all examples of demographics.

  • Do you think water should be a human right? Consider that rights are things that people should receive without payment. For example, the right to a lawyer means that you have a right to a lawyer even if you can’t pay for one.

  • Should people have to pay for water? If not, how can we set up a system so that all people can get water without having to pay for it?

  • Do you think that all Detroit families will be able to afford the reduced price of $25 a month during the state shutdown when many people are not able to work?

  • What do you think should be done during crises like this where having access to water is important for public health?


Water Resources

If you or anyone you know does not have water right now you can call 313-386-9727 to begin getting it turned back on.

For more information visit the following link:

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