Environmental activists from West Virginia on Wednesday delivered more than 1,000 gallons of bottled water to residents of Detroit, where more than 15,000 of the city’s poorest people have had their water shut off — often for being unable to pay their bill — part of austerity measures imposed on the bankrupt city.
Bill DePaulo, with Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, drove a U-Haul truck to carry 1,080 gallons of water paid for by donations from West Virginians. He arrived at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Wednesday morning, one of four water distribution centers in the city, giving out about 300 gallons in just a few hours.
“I just thought there’s something we can do here, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do it,” DePaulo told Al Jazeera as he was traveling Tuesday, along with the president of the group, Paul Brown.
DePaulo said the water would be enough to meet the needs of 200 people for about two days. Each bottle cost about 75 cents.
West Virginia recently suffered its own water woes, with 300,000 people in its capital Charleston and surrounding areas told not to drink their water for several days after a January coal processing chemical spill. Months after the ban was lifted, many still don’t drink from their taps. DePaulo said he takes showers, washes clothes and dishes with the water but won't drink it.