With the world’s clean drinking water supply dwindling, struggles over freshwater are taking place all over the globe. Rivers, lakes and streams are seen as commodities for profit, not as natural resources to sustain. But whose water is it to begin with? And who gets to manage and distribute this most precious of resources?
On this edition, we go to Michigan, where from the city of Detroit, to the farmlands and countryside, citizens are battling to gain greater control over the bounty of the great lakes.
This show was made possible in part by the Park Foundation.
Gwendolyn Gaines, Detroit People’s Water Board Commissioner, Ann Rall, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization volunteer; Charity Hicks, Detroit People’s Water Board Commissioner At Large, Lou Novak, Detroit Greens Treasurer, Marcella Olivera, Red Vida Co-Coordinator, Don Coe, Black Star Farms Managing Partner; Jay Peasley, White River Watershed Partnership and Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation member; Dan Scripps, Michigan State Representative; Jim Olson, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation Attorney; Ray Franz, well owner; Eric Neubecker, Ramer Well Drilling Company Geologist.
Contributing Producer: Rachel Zurer
Michigan Debates Putting Groundwater into a Public Trust
Michigan is one of several states that are considering laws to put their groundwater into a public trust – its an idea designed to prevent private interests from profiting off water, at the community’s expense. But some Michiganers are worried that the proposal would threaten their use of the water beneath their own land—an important benefit of living in a state with so much water under the ground. Making Contact’s Andrew Stelzer has the story.
The Detroit Peoples Water Board is Born
The city of Detroit sits at the tip of Lake Erie, and is a few miles downriver from Lake St Clair, a smaller, but substantial freshwater source in itself. But despite all that water, some Detroit residents are facing a water crisis of their own. For the past decade the price of water has been steadily climbing higher — so high that for some, it’s out of reach. Because the water and sewerage department wasn’t responding to the community’s needs, a coalition of environmental groups, labor unions, and social activists has come together to try and claim a stake in managing the water supply they need to survive. Making Contact correspondent Rachel Zurer reports how their group, the Detroit People’s Water Board, is pushing to create a system in which everyone has access to clean, affordable water.
To learn more about the Detroit People’s Water board, check out this article in the Progressive magazine.
For More Information:
Will Copeland’s Water Warriors
Videos, Blogs, Articles, Links:
“Water Warriors” poem by Will Copeland, video directed by Isabelle Carbonell
“Quillawañuy” (Aire de Cueca) by Ch’uwa Yacu
“Purple Nurple” by Alex Beroza
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