Throughout the Great Lakes region and across the U.S., water systems are aging.
In some communities, this means water bills that residents can’t afford or water that’s unsafe to drink. It means that vulnerable systems are even more at risk in a changing climate. From shrinking cities and small towns to the comparatively thriving suburbs, the true cost of water has been deferred for decades. As the nation prepares to pour hundreds of billions of federal dollars into rescuing water systems, the Great Lakes News Collaborative investigates the true cost of water in the Great Lakes region and beyond.
The quality of Michigan’s water infrastructure and the consequences of failure, while still real and apparent, are no longer being ignored.
While much-needed money is being directed to aging drinking water infrastructure, stormwater and sewer systems have been neglected.
Water, while still overall affordable in Canada compared to other countries, is growing more expensive as the cost of neglecting infrastructure for decades comes due.
The Great Lakes News Collaborative asked state and national experts how Michigan could break the cycle of underfunding and poor decision-making that has left water systems across Michigan in sorry shape.
More communities gain access to the largest federal infusion in a half century.
Customers get cheaper, cleaner water when communities share the cost of infrastructure. But Michigan’s experience shows how political conflicts and logistical challenges can complicate the math.
Rising rates hurt Michigan’s poorest residents.
Short-changing Michigan local governments has resulted in deteriorating water systems and other services
Many of Michigan’s cities are reaching a crisis point because of a decline in federal dollars for water and sewer infrastructure made worse by the state’s centralized taxing system.
Michigan’s lack of septic system regulations is causing problems for some of its most pristine lakes
The cost of updating sewer systems in growing communities is either a hefty price tag or polluted waters.
Cities around the Great Lakes region struggle with the cost of water maintenance and operation as their populations decline.
Michigan cities rich and poor, big and small have been delaying maintenance on their water systems for decades. Now, even wealthy towns are suffering the consequences of past reluctance to pay for water system upkeep.
Rural Michigan’s shrinking populations, growing poverty, and diminished state and federal assistance have fueled a crisis of underfunded drinking water infrastructure.
Federal and state governments begin to reverse course on underinvestment to address water’s true cost.
For the whole month of May, Great Lakes Now will be looking at aging water infrastructure and the rising literal cost of water as part of a series from the Great Lakes News Collaborative.
Join the Conversations: Events on “Water’s True Cost” will answer your questions about water infrastructure
As the Great Lakes News Collaborative prepares to publish and air stories about water’s true cost, get these free, virtual events on your calendar to learn more about your drinking water.
Join GLN Producer Anna Sysling for a conversation with several guests who all played a part in this episode’s story about the complicated financial, public health and infrastructural implications of our drinking water.
More from the Great Lakes News Collaborative:
The Michigan Attorney General’s office sued the Grand Rapids airport authority on behalf of EGLE over a dispute on responsibility for PFAS contamination.
Government auditors say EPA officials failed to follow a new “elevation policy” that’s meant to generate a stronger response to the most urgent environmental and public health threats.
Activists aim to enrich their neighbors’ quality of life and deepen their connection to nature.
America’s groundwater is now running dry where water is abundant.
Ineffective voluntary pollution prevention practices are set aside for mandatory regulation.
As researchers learn more about the hazards of plastics and microplastics in the Great Lakes, it’s becoming clear Canada and the U.S. need to cooperate in stopping the pollution.
Military officials announced they will install groundwater treatment systems around the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base to clean up chemical compounds linked to serious health issues.
Researchers are studying how much of cyanobacterial toxins become airborne. They say breathing in the toxins is much worse than ingesting them.