In a recent study by the World Health Organisation it was released that over 750 million people around the world don’t have access to clean water. What is surprising though, is that many of those people live in the US.
In Detroit, a city that has been plagued by bankruptcy, job losses and huge percentages of people living below the poverty line; over 100,000 families live without access to clean, running water.
@tiffani I have been asking this too. I’d pay someone’s water bill if I could pay directly.
— Kristy Tillman (@KristyT) July 17, 2014
After this exchange across social media, Kristy Tillman and Tiffani Bell decided to create the Detroit Water Project.
Their aim was simple; to start up funding to switch on water for those who had been unable to pay their bills, and therefore had lost access to what should be, a fundamental right for everyone.
Huge amounts of people were cut off from water access, when they defaulted on their bills, after Detroit suffered one of the largest municipal bankruptcies in U.S history.
The Detroit Water Project acts by connecting people who want to help, directly with those families who need help. This is not a charity, instead it is a collective of people who can see direct and immediate change whilst circumventing bureaucracy.
To date, the project has raised $180 and has paid the water bills of more than 900 families in need.
“We solved the problems of distributing water and power over long distances ages ago, so there’s no reason these fundamentals should be denied from anybody, especially society’s most vulnerable citizens,” Bell told Mic.
The project started in Detroit and Bell hopes to replicate this model to extend to other cities, and then other countries around the world. So far, donors in Baltimore have paid over $30,000 in water bills for families in need thanks to the project.
“I’d like to spread the Detroit Water Project platform to as many cities as possible, to bring awareness to the issue of utility insecurity and ensure every household with the infrastructure has running water regardless of financial status,” said Bell.