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Detroit Water and Sewerage Department

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Title: Detroit Water and Sewerage Department  
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Subject: Architects Building, Detroit Towers, Sugar Hill Historic District (Detroit), Detroit-Columbia Central Office Building, Dunbar Hospital
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Detroit Water and Sewerage Department

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is a sprawling network covering more than 1,000 square miles, servicing more than 40 percent of the U.S. state of Michigan's population, and employing over 3,000 people.[1]


Following the establishment of the City of Detroit in 1701, the supply of drinking water in Detroit and its surroundings evolved from individuals collecting water daily from the river in leather buckets, to horse-driven pumps distributing river water to homes in a small network of hollowed-out wooden logs. Later, it progressed from wooden logs to gigantic stream-driven equipment pumping thousands of gallons of raw river water, to more efficient electric pumps supplying millions of gallons of treated water for distribution through a complex network of pipes to millions of people who reside in Southeast Michigan.


Today, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is the third largest provider of high-quality drinking water and wastewater treatment services in the United States.

Privatization and cutting off water to customers

As of 24 June 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is

"an estimated $5 billion in debt and has been the subject of privatization talks ... [it] says half of its 323,000 accounts are delinquent and has begun turning off the taps of those who do not pay bills that total above $150 or that are 60 days late. Since March, up to 3,000 account holders have had their water cut off every week."[2]

Activists from the Blue Planet Project have filed a "submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation ... activists say Detroit is trying to push through a private takeover of its water system at the expense of basic rights."[2]


  1. ^ The History of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, official site
  2. ^ a b "Water is a Human Right: Detroit Residents Seek U.N. Intervention as City Shuts Off Taps to Thousands". Democracy Now!. 2014-06-24. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
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