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Can Donors Keep Detroit Hydrated?

DETROIT, MI - JULY 18 : A man holds a bottle of water as he joins other demonstrators protesting against the Detroit Water and Sewer Department July 18, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Water and Sewer Department have disconnected water to thousands of Detroit residents who are delinquent with their bills. Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Despite lying next to the Great Lakes, Detroit has a water problem: nearly half of the 320,000 accounts in the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department are delinquent, and the department earlier this year began an aggressive shutoff campaign aimed at forcing late customers to pay up.

While some took to the streets to protest the department's move and other activists even appealed to the United Nations, the Detroit Water Project Group has taken a different track, launching a website that connects needy Detroit residents with anonymous donors who will foot some or all of their water bill.

Image source: screengrab via Detroit Water Project Image source: Detroit Water Project

The site matches willing donors with residents facing shutoffs, allowing philanthropists to pay the city water department directly on behalf of those in need.

Demonstrators protest against the Detroit Water and Sewer Department, July 18, 2014 in Detroit. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Since launching the shutoff campaign in March, Detroit's water department has recouped nearly $2 million in outstanding debts, WJBK-TV reported, though that money is just a drop in the proverbial bucket: the department is still owed nearly $90 million by delinquent customers.

A man holds a bottle of water as he joins other demonstrators protesting against the Detroit Water and Sewer Department, July 18, 2014 in Detroit. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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