The City of Detroit began shutting off water access to residents behind on payments Tuesday, with thousands at risk of losing access. According to the Detroit Free Press, 64,769 delinquent residential customers owe the city’s water department a combined $48.9 million. That figure tops the estimated 41,000 individuals who Food and Water Watch (FWW), an advocacy group, says lacked any water as of January (there is likely overlap between the groups).

The city started sending out shut-off warnings May 11. According to the Free Press, Mayor Mike Duggan is proceeding with the shutoff orders over the wishes of city council members, who voted on May 12 to freeze the shutoff until an assistance plan to help affected residents was enacted.FWW’s Lynna Kaucheck says Duggan tried implementing one last year that gave discounts to qualified residents, but that program proved too expensive for most residents. FULL REPORT