The 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.
Photos: J. Carl Ganter and Todd Zawistowski
Text and Production: Aubrey Ann Parker
Logistics and Outreach: Akasha Sutherland
Design: Ali Prentice
Tech Assistance: Kaye LaFond
Transcription: Miles Beauchamp
Web Production: Jordan B. Bates