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From Excess to Entropy: Municipal Water Services Governance in the United States

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Water Governance: Policy and Practice book series (PSWG)

Abstract

Water was long considered plentiful and even infinite in many parts of the United States (US). However, the US today faces numerous water services challenges including reduced quality of supply, decay of infrastructure, increasing rates, access and affordability issues, lead contamination, and a series of very public confrontations and standoffs over public versus private ownership, water governance, water rights, and the human right to water. This chapter offers a summary of the extant literature on US municipal water services, public reports, key regulations, and case studies of water conflicts and crises in Flint and Detroit. In doing so, we argue that the plentiful, clean, and low-cost water resources the US long enjoyed can no longer be taken for granted and new approaches are required.

Keywords

  • Municipal Water Services
  • Public Versus Private
  • Michigan Department Of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)
  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
  • Public Water Systems

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 12.1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    ASCE. (n.d.). 2017 Infrastructure Report Card Website. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.

  2. 2.

    ASCE. (n.d.). 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Drinking-Water-Final.pdf.

  3. 3.

    U.S. EPA. (n.d.). Information about Public Water Systems. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/information-about-public-water-systems.

  4. 4.

    U.S. EPA. (n.d.). Annual Allotment of Federal Funds for States, Tribes, and Territories. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf/annual-allotment-federal-funds-states-tribes-and-territories.

  5. 5.

    Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies. (n.d.). Water Infrastructure Investment & Financing. Retrieved January 21, 2018, from https://www.amwa.net/water-infrastructure-investment-financing.

  6. 6.

    U.S. EPA. (2018, April 4). EPA Announces New Funding for Water Infrastructure Projects. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-new-funding-water-infrastructure-projects-0.

  7. 7.

    City of Detroit. (n.d.). Capital Improvement Program. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from http://www.detroitmi.gov/DWSDimproves.

  8. 8.

    U.S. EPA. (n.d.). Providing Safe Drinking Water in America: National Public Water Systems Compliance Report. Retrieved March 23, 2018, from https://www.epa.gov/compliance/providing-safe-drinking-water-america-national-public-water-systems-compliance-report.

  9. 9.

    Fieldstadt E. (2016, January 16). Flint, Michigan, Water Crisis: Obama Signs Emergency Declaration. Retrieved January 17, 2016, from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/flint-michigan-water-crisis-obama-signs-emergency-declaration-n498001.

  10. 10.

    Hawthorne M. & Reyes C. (2018, April 12). Brain-damaging lead found in tap water in hundreds of homes tested across Chicago, results show. Retrieved April 17, 2018, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-chicago-water-lead-contamination-20180411-htmlstory.html.

  11. 11.

    CBS/AP. (2014, August 2). Toxic tap water causes state of emergency in Toledo. Retrieved August 2, 2014, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/toledo-ohio-officials-warn-against-drinking-toxic-tap-water/.

  12. 12.

    Troy T. (2014, August 19). Mayor says water crisis is similar to 9/11. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2014/08/19/Mayor-says-water-crisis-is-similar-to-9-11.html.

  13. 13.

    Adapted from Aquino, N. and Montgomery, A.W. (2018). “Water, Water Everywhere? The Flint Water Crisis” SAGE Business Cases.

  14. 14.

    United States Census Bureau. (n.d.). Flint, Michigan Quick Facts. Retrieved September 1, 2016, from http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/2629000.

  15. 15.

    Carmody, S. (2013, April 16). Flint ending Detroit water contract, DWSD looking at its options. Retrieved September 1, 2016, from http://michiganradio.org/post/flint-ending-detroit-water-contract-dwsd-looking-its-options#stream/0.

  16. 16.

    Ridley, G. (2016, February 12). Flint water switch was approved despite DEQ health warnings a year earlier. Retrieved September 1, 2016, from http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/02/deq_official_warned_of_flint_r.html.

  17. 17.

    Gupta, S., Tinker, B., & Hume, T. (2016, January 22). Flint doctor’s fight to expose lead poisoning. Retrieved August 25, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/21/health/flint-water-mona-hanna-attish/.

  18. 18.

    Roy, S. (2015, September 30). COMMENTARY: MDEQ Mistakes and Deception Created the Flint Water Crisis. Retrieved August 26, 2016, from http://flintwaterstudy.org/2015/09/commentary-mdeq-mistakes-deception-flint-water-crisis/.

  19. 19.

    U.S. EPA. (n.d.). Pricing and Affordability of Water Services. Retrieved February 3, 2018, from https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-water-infrastructure/pricing-and-affordability-water-services.

  20. 20.

    Circle of blue. (n.d.). The Price of Water. Retrieved April 7, 2018, from http://www.circleofblue.org/waterpricing/.

  21. 21.

    AWWA. (n.d.). Water & Wastewater Rates. Retrieved April 7, 2018, from https://www.awwa.org/resources-tools/water-and-wastewater-utility-management/water-wastewater-rates.aspx.

  22. 22.

    U.S. Census Bureau. (2015). State and County Quick Facts: Detroit, Michigan. Retrieved September 4, 2015, from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26/2622000.html.

  23. 23.

    Clark, A. (2014, July 3). Going without water in Detroit. Retrieved July 4, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/opinion/going-without-water-in-detroit.html?_r=0.

  24. 24.

    The regional and privately owned DTE Energy Co. that delivered both gas and electric services to the area had more comprehensive bill monitoring and assistance programs in place and so did not have large numbers of overdue accounts.

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Zhao, D., Montgomery, A.W. (2019). US. In: Porcher, S., Saussier, S. (eds) Facing the Challenges of Water Governance. Palgrave Studies in Water Governance: Policy and Practice. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98515-2_12

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