DETROIT -

The Detroit Water Fund has been given a big boost by three local companies.

The fund, which was set up by Mayor Mike Duggan, aims to help relieve those who are behind on their water bills and subsequently facing a shutoff.

During an announcement on Monday, the following donations:

  • The United Way - $100,000
  • Ford Motor Company - $50,000
  • General Motors - $50,000

The fund is managed by The United Way and is part of Duggan’s 10-point plan to help struggling residents.

“If you are in need financially, we have the ability to support you with these contributions," Duggan said. “It doesn’t do any good to have people protesting, saying that we should give free water. There’s no source of free water, because the way the water system works, every city’s responsible for its own water. Every time somebody in Detroit doesn’t pay their bill, it’s other Detroiters that bear that cost."

Donations to the fund can be made here.

Detroit had been cutting off water to commercial and residential customers 60 days behind or owing more than $150. Several groups appealed to the U.N. for support, and three U.N. experts responded the shutoffs could constitute a violation of the human right to water.

More than 15,000 customers had their service cut between March and June, although many have since had it restored. Shutoffs have been halted until Aug. 25.

Detroit's water department, which is responsible for about $6 billion of the city's $18 billion in debt, is one of the major issues in the bankruptcy. But unlike some debt that is not supported by revenue streams, water department debt is covered by bill-paying customers.