The Flint Water Crisis and the Democratic Debate

As the CEO of a water utility we try many different methods to help our public understand the challenges of providing clean water to our communities and to ensure that their water is clean, safe and available 24/7/365.   We send out bill inserts, speak to civic groups and send out the annual water quality report.   Our nation is receiving a very important lesson on the importance of clean water and the complexity involved in updating infrastructure that was installed over generations.  

The community of Flint, Michigan has a serious problem with its water supply and the pipes that carry it to households and businesses throughout the community.   It is on the news programs each evening, in the daily newspaper and now the center of the Democratic debate held tonight in Flint, Michigan.   At warp speed, communities across the United States are looking at their own public water supply and wondering about its safety.  

With the focus on the tonight's debate the AP conducted a national poll and only about half of Americans are very confident on the safety of their drinking water. Another 33% said they were moderately confident.   It was reported that 7 in 10 drink tap water, but about half of those run it through a filter.  Trust in drinking water is much lower among minorities and those who are poor.  

As a water professional, the resulting loss of confidence in tap water by our public is disappointing. and for me it creates a resolve to communicate and share the story of our water to my community.   Sharing what we do, how we do it and why we do it to ensure they receive safe, high quality water is my commitment to rebuilding their confidence.  

As we measure the progress of our efforts over the coming months, I will detail them in this blog.