MI groups take part in national “Imagine a Day Without Water”

FLINT, Mich. – “Imagine a Day Without Water” is the name of a series of events taking place today in Michigan and across the country to shed light on water-quality issues and the critical importance of clean water.

The reigning Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma, will be at First Trinity Baptist Church in Flint along with activists from the group Flint Strong Stones to plead for faster action to bring clean water to everyone in the state.

Monica Lewis-Patrick, president and chief executive of the group We the People of Detroit, said Michiganders face a multitude of threats to clean water.

“And so, for everything – from PFAS contamination to the Line 5, to the lead poisoning that we are seeing in Flint and also in the Detroit Public Schools, to the un-affordability of water that now is a regional issue,” she said, “we are standing in solidarity for the human right to water.”

The lead-pipe infrastructure in Flint is due to be replaced next year, five years after the start of the water crisis there. Schools in Detroit have had to rely on water coolers after high lead levels forced the district to shut off the taps. On Tuesday, the district announced it has raised $2.4 million in donations, enough to begin the job of installing new hydration stations.

The city of Detroit has implemented a controversial policy of shutting off people’s water for nonpayment of bills, something Lewis-Patrick said has led many to start burying their waste in their backyards. She warned that could poison the local groundwater and lead to more contamination and disease.

“We here in the city of Detroit – and in Wayne County, and Macomb and Oakland counties – sit in the largest Hepatitis A outbreak in American history,” she said. “So, to be shutting off water is another way that we’re driving contamination of the Great Lakes.”

She said the groups are asking the state to make water service more affordable and establish a fund to help low-income families replace lead pipes inside their homes.

National “Imagine a Day Without Water” events are listed online at imagineadaywithoutwater.org.