While many Michiganders were lighting fireworks and firing up the grill over Fourth of July weekend, the city of Flint hosted its second annual Flint Water Festival to raise awareness for its water crisis and failing infrastructure. As reported by MLive, the festival took place at Riverbank Park in Downtown Flint and consisted of music, a waterworks art program, a F.A.M.E. motivational panel, and fireworks in celebration of Independence Day. Local artists such as Lyric Da Queen, played for Flint residents for 8 hours at the park’s amphitheater. The festival also provided free children's books for families and inflatable bounce houses for kids to have fun.
The Flint Water Crisis
If you have not heard by now, the city of Flint has been without clean water for three years. Per NPR, The crisis started in 2014 after the city decided to cut its water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and build its own pipeline that would be connected to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA). This move was projected to save the city an estimated $200 million over 25 years. A year after the announcement was made to switch water suppliers in April 2013, the city of Detroit cut the supply of water to Flint. On April 25, 2014, Flint decided to use the Flint River as its water supply while the pipeline was being constructed. Shortly after the switch to the Flint River, water pipe corrosion became noticeable. After this discovery, tests were done and it was discovered that lead contaminants and bacteria such as E. coli were present in the water. Since April of 2014, Flint residents have had to live without clean running water.
Flint Water Crisis Aid
Last year, the first Flint Water Festival was created to inspire the children affected by the water crisis. This year the festival focused on the continued endeavor of raising awareness about what the city has been going through for the past three years. A point of emphasis was the necessity for better infrastructure.
Luckily, the city’s calls have not been completely ignored. According to Snopes, in March, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a $100-million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to aid in the improvement of drinking water infrastructure. Just recently, on June 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that $15-million will be donated the Genesee County Healthy Start Program. Read more about the donation on The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC Blog.
According to Money, the city has also received countless generous donations in the form of money and bottles of water. The most notable donations have come from big name celebrities such as Eminem and Mark Wahlberg, and professional athletes including Detroit Lions' defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
The Future of Flint
There is hope for the City of Flint. The residents have certainly shown that they are strong enough to overcome the crisis. In March of 2016, a plan was enacted outlining Flint’s recovery. According to Reuters, highlights of this plan include special medical attention for children under the age of 6 with high contents of lead in their blood, opening three new child health care centers, and replacing contaminated water faucets in numerous public facilities. The plan is also said to provide continued replacement of water pipes, more options for mortgage financing for undervalued homes, and new training programs to at least 500 resident for long-term employment. Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, said primary focuses of the plan are the improvement of children’s health care, expanding support of Flint Schools, and the city’s economic development.
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