Michigan is in a crisis of water policy and law

May 18, 2017

Governor Rick Snyder

P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909

Dear Governor Snyder,

Michigan is in a crisis of water policy and law. This crisis requires your intervention and leadership now.

This week in Detroit an additional 18,000 homes will be added to the already 20,000 plus homes disconnected from the Detroit water system. Once these disconnections occur, there will be far more than 100,000 Detroiters living without running water in their homes. The average delinquent bill is approximately $260, an amount for which Nestlé, the world’s largest food and water bottler, pays a dime or less. Even worse, Detroit families are being torn apart for lack of running water and in ALL cases for amounts of water that Nestle would pay less than a dollar. Having more than 100,000 Detroiters living without running water in their homes is a community, regional, and state crisis.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, more than 8,000 Flint residents are receiving tax liens on their homes for refusal to pay their water bills. They are refusing because they can’t drink the water and don’t want to bathe in it. Residents of Flint are being forced to pay more than $900 per year to flush their toilets. If the Flint residents were permitted to pay the Nestlé rate for water, their $900 would purchase almost a BILLION gallons of water.

Michigan water laws persecute the least fortunate and gift and enrich the wealthy. As you are aware, Nestle, the world’s largest food and water bottler, is currently up for a permit increase to take an additional 250 gallons a minute from the White Pine Springs well in Osceola County. This increase, if granted by the DEQ, will permit Nestle to pump 210 million gallons a year from this well, for the total sum of $200. That is about 95 cents per million gallons. Our organization, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, has delivered to the Department of Environmental Quality the signatures of about 400,000 people opposed to this increase.

The Province of Ontario, Canada, in facing a similar increase for water taking by Nestlé, and took the unprecedented action this January of placing a two-year moratorium on water taking increases and new permits. Michigan laws are no less broken and perhaps more so.

As our Governor, you need to follow the example of Ontario and place a two-year moratorium on water taking increases and new permits. Michigan needs to revamp our water laws and dramatically increase the amount charged to water takers like Nestlé.

The people of the state of Michigan do not owe Nestlé or any other corporation the water resources of our state, especially for the cost of virtually nothing. Michigan has already gifted Nestle billions of gallons of water that have awarded billions of dollars to one of the world’s richest corporations.

As Governor, you are responsible for the actions of your administration. The inequities and social injustices in Michigan’s water laws and policies are plain for all to see. Do not allow the continued gifting to Nestlé by your administration. Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation calls upon you to declare a two-year moratorium on water taking increases and new permits to revamp Michigan water laws and policies before any further gifting of our state’s precious water resources occurs.

Respectfully,

Board of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation