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Articles/Papers/Study Guides

Six Ways Gretchen Whitmer and Lawmakers Can Protect Michigan’s Water
By Dave Dempsey, Bridge Michigan, April 28, 2019

Groundwater is invisible until your well is contaminated. But that does not mean it’s unimportant. We need more investment and awareness of the dangers.

Legislation would turn water use decisions in Michigan over to Nestlé and other large water users
Michigan Environmental Council, Feb. 28, 2018

Legislation that essentially gives a free pass for large water withdrawals and eliminates public input on large water withdrawals is on a fast track in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Cape Town Is About to Run Out of Water Because of Climate Disruption, but Some Are Hoping to Profit From It

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout, Feb. 27, 2018
Cape Town, South Africa, a city of 4 million people, could run out of water in less than 90 days. While people’s movements work together toward a “sharing” model and living closer to the Earth, the government continues to operate hierarchically, turning the crisis into an opportunity for the rich to profit from those most severely impacted by the lack of water.

Miles From Flint, Residents Turn Off Taps in New Water Crisis

By Mitch Smith, New York Times, Nov. 24, 2017
Waste from a shoe factory has tainted groundwater in a Grand Rapids suburb.

Detroit Fights For Fair Water Access

By Eleanor Greene, Green America, October 2017
‘We the People of  Detroit’ is fighting to ensure that Detroiters have fair, equitable, and uninterrupted access to clean water

Trump Budget Eliminates Great Lakes Funds

By Garret Ellison, MLive.com, March 16, 2016
Great Lakes restoration funding is altogether eliminated in Trump’s first formal budget proposal as part of $2.6 billion in cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Flint is Family” Daily Life During the Flint Water Crisis

By Aura Bogado, Grist Magazine, Aug. 10, 2016
Latoya Ruby Frazier, recent winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant, is best known for using photography to help people tell stories about the harsh inequities they endure. Frazier has turned her camera to Flint, Mich., in a short film titled, “Flint is Family.”

Missoula Wins Right to Control Its Own Water in Victory Against Privatization

By Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams, Aug. 3, 2016|
Montana Supreme Court says city’s use of its water system is ‘more necessary’ than its use by a private company.

Is Water a Human Right?

By Brian Palmer, TruthOut, March 13, 2016
The question is not whether a human right to water exists, but whether our state and federal governments are fulfilling it. The answer, for the residents of Flint, Mich.; Hoosick Falls, N.y.; and Jackson, Miss., is clearly no.

Detroit Is Ground Zero in the New Fight for Water Rights

Laura Gottesdiener, The Nation, July 15, 2015
“As many as 25,000 families are at risk of having their water shut off. These activists are fighting back.”

Water Issues and Local and Global Interconnections

By Elizabeth Walters, IHM

Congressional briefing: trouble on tap: challenges to affordable water in the U.S. – the view from Detroit

By Alice B. Jennings, Esq. Edwards & Jennings, P.C., Feb. 26, 2015
This presentation was delivered at Congressional Hearing on Water Rights in Detroit.

International human rights network intervenes in case challenging large-scale disconnection of water supply to tens of thousands of low-income residents in Detroit

The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), Feb. 9, 2015
A global network of over 220 groups and 50 individual human rights advocates from around the world has requested to be recognized as amicus curiae in the case of Lyda et al. v. City of Detroit, in support of residents challenging the City of Detroit’s decision to cut off water supply to thousands of households unable to pay their bills.

2015 Lenten reflections on water

School Sisters of Notre Dame Atlantic-Midwest Province
The School Sisters of Notre Dame have created an online Lenten Calendar to help us ponder, study, celebrate and protect water.

Would You Rather Get Your Water From Your City Government – or From a Corporation?

Michelle Chen, The Nation, Dec. 11, 2014
Detroit’s water crisis may seem like an anomaly, but we may soon see more resource crises nationwide if pro-business officials decide water isn’t so much an essential entitlement as it is a commodity to be traded like corn and crude oil.

Life Without Water

Circle of Blue, August 2014
A beautiful photo slideshow with neighborhood quotes and brief commentaries on the Detroit Water struggle.

Big Players Promote Water Privatization

Ellen Dannin, Truthout, Aug. 1, 2014
Americans used to take water for granted, but the water shutoffs in Detroit have taught us all important lessons.

Thousands March for Water Rights in Detroit

Ruth Conniff, PRWatch, July 19, 2014
Thousands of people marched through downtown Detroit to call attention to a major public health crisis as the city shuts off the water for residents who are behind on their bills.

Detroit People’s Platform Letter on Water Shut-Offs and Public Health

Detroit People’s Platform, July 2, 2014
The People’s Platform delivered this letter to the Public Health Officer for the City of Detroit on July 2, 2014

‘Escalating Resistance’ in Detroit as Residents Block Water Shut-Offs

by Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, July 10, 2014
“The issue of whether water should be a commodity or part of the commons raises the question of what kind of future we want.”

UN to Detroit: Denial of Water to Thousands ‘Violates Human Rights’

Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, June 24, 2014
United Nations experts declared that the city of Detroit’s shut-off of water to thousands of residents who are unable to pay their bills “constitutes a violation of the human right to water”

Submission to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Regarding Water Cut-offs in the City of Detroit, Michigan

The Blue Planet Project, June 18, 2014
The official report to the United Nations about access to water in Detroit.

Groups Appeal to UN for ‘Humanity’ as Detroit Shuts Off Water to Thousands

By Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, June 18, 2014
As thousands of people in Detroit go without water and the city moves to cut off services to tens of thousands more, concerned organizations have taken the unusual step of appealing to the United Nations to intervene and protect the “human right to water.”

Gone for Good: Fracking and Water Loss in the West, by Western Organization of Resource Councils

Western Organization of Resource Councils, 2013
This report estimates that, in 2012, at least seven billion gallons of water used for fracking in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming exited the hydrologic cycle forever.

Hydraulic Fracturing & Water Stress: Growing Competitive Pressures for Water

CERES, 2013
This paper analyzes water use in hydraulic fracturing operations across the United States and the extent to which this activity is taking place in water stressed regions. It provides an overview of efforts underway to mitigate these impacts and suggests key questions that industry, water managers and investors should be asking.

Fracking’s Health and Environmental Impacts Greater Than Claimed

Walter Brasch, TruthOut, March 19, 2012
The natural gas industry defends hydraulic fracturing as safe and efficient. However, until recently energy companies had used low-pressure methods to extract natural gas from fields closer to the surface than the current high-pressure technology that extracts more gas, but uses significantly more water, chemicals and elements.

“Water, An Essential Element for Life”

Archbishop Renato R. Martino, The Vatican, March 2003
This article is a contribution of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace of the Holy See to the Third World Water Forum.

Web Links

Blue Communities Project

The Blue Communities Project encourages municipalities and Indigenous communities to support the idea of a water commons framework, recognizing that water is a shared resource for all.

Community Rights US

Community Rights US is a national team of professionals working with communities to pass locally enforceable laws protecting people and nature from corporate destructive practices

FLOW (For Love of Water)

Water is our common heritage that belongs to all of us and is owned by no one. Applying public trust policies to our current threats, FLOW works to preserve this heritage and chart a new and better course for our generation and generations to come.

Great Lakes Commons

The Great Lakes Commons is a grassroots effort to establish the Great Lakes as a thriving, living commons — shared and sacred waters that we all protect in perpetuity.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

The mission of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is to protect Michigan’s surface and ground waters from pollution, plunder, and privatization through education, advocacy, and action.

Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump

The website for the campaign against Ontario Power Generation’s plans to bury radioactive nuclear waste beside Lake Huron.

Food and Water Watch

Food and Water Watch challenges the corporate control and abuse of food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

Michigan Environmental Council

A collective voice for the environment at the local, state and federal levels addressing issues that affect Michigan’s environment, including the state’s water legacy

Union of Concerned Scientists

Union of Concerned Scientists combines technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe and sustainable future.


Video

Drops in the Bucket

ACLU of Michigan, Aug. 5, 2015
In and around Detroit, tens of thousands of low-income residents are faced with the bleak prospect of having their water service terminated. “Drops in the Bucket,” a new video on the water crisis from the ACLU of Michigan, explores how the mayor’s attempted affordability fixes have fallen woefully short.