1,000 Days Without Water: The Story of Flint, Mich.


Remy Fisher , Editor-in-Chief

Water: a necessity that well and alive humans require. Imagine living in modern America without clean water for over 1,000 days; these are the conditions that some Americans are striving to currently survive with.

Flint, Mich., located nearly 70 miles north of Detroit, holds approximately 98,000 citizens. 41.6% of whom live below the poverty line. The water crisis was announced by former President Barack Obama previously in January 2016, and still, nothing has changed. As awareness faded, the crisis at hand did not, and residents of Flint are still without water to this day. Citizens cannot bathe in, cook with, nor drink the water provided without a filter, and must heavily rely on donated bottled water (CNN).

According to Time, in April of 2014 the city switched their main water source from Detroit to the local Flint River in order to cut back on spending. The only problem made was that city officials did not properly treat the water, and lead reached the city’s aging pipes. This decision would haunt Flint residents for years to come. The lead-infested waters reached citizen’s homes and caused great outbreak: residents complained about the smell and discoloration of the water (TIME), suffered from lead poisoning, and eventually lost all hope. It was then announced that Flint was in a “state of emergency” (Detroit News).

In the following year, after what seemed like nothing had been done to fix this urgent problem, mother and Flint resident Leeanne Walters got ahold of environmental engineer Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech and notified him of the tragedy that has struck her town. She sent him water samples to test, and they were the “worst lead levels he had ever seen.” Edwards bravely contacted the Environmental Protection Agency to warn them about the water conditions in Flint, but his leap of courage was unsuccessful. The EPA “ignored” the warning and notified the mayor of Flint that the water was, despite the noticeable rusted orange color, “fine and drinkable.” To this day, Edwards is still fighting for the liberty that Flint residents deserve (Washington Post).

Now, nearly three years later, Flint remains in crisis mode. Governor Rick Snyder recently gave his hour-long State of the State address in Lansing, Mich., and only about two minutes were dedicated to the tragedy in Flint (Detroit Free Press 2). Lead exposure has impaired cognition, hearing, and puberty rates in children as well as reducing fetal growth in pregnant women. This does not seem to phase Gov. Snyder whatsoever (TIME).

Protests have rung out, boycotting has begun, and citizens are running out of sources of water. One should not simply take no notice during this time of intense difficulty, but instead take a stand and help repair the damages that have been put upon the city and it’s citizens. To help those in need of necessity and to put an end to this catastrophe, below is a list of organizations to donate to. Hopefully, we will be able to end this tragic event together in the new coming year.

Community Fund of Greater Flint

United Way of Genesee County

Salvation Army of Genesee County

City of Flint, Michigan