'The Daily Show' Rips Detroit For Cutting Off Water To Poor Residents

After Detroit began shutting off water service this year to thousands of customers behind on their bills, critics wondered why the city was letting its neediest residents go without an essential service. On Monday's episode of the "The Daily Show," correspondent Jessica Williams traveled to Detroit to find out.

In an interview with Williams, Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley said people think they're entitled to free water.

"It's the perfect scheme," Williams shot back. "Step one, be poor. Step two, don't pay your water bill. Step three, have your water shut off. Step four -- what is step four?"

Williams also took a ride in a golf cart to see why some commercial customers had been allowed to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in in late payments and keep their water on.

"Once again, poor people were just blaming the victim: innocent, 18-hole golf courses who desperately need their water for critical fountaining," Williams said.

The city began a ramped-up plan to shut off water to delinquent residents this spring, steadily cutting off service at the rate of several thousand a month. About 30,000 customers had their water turned off over the last 10 months, according to an October report. Of those 30,000, over half have had their water service restored at some point, after paying their bills or working out payment plans.

Two United Nations experts have called for a federal investigation of the shut-off effort. The water department told The Associated Press this week that shut-offs will continue through winter.

Watch Williams' look at the Detroit water crisis -- and her attempt to find a free place for a few thousand people to shower -- in the clip above.



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