Recently, Governor Dayton announced his plan to modernize Minnesota’s aging water infrastructure and protect water quality. Many of us in the Great Lakes region have long taken our clean drinking water for granted, but the Flint Water Crisis has thrust this issue into the national spotlight.
The man-made lead crisis in Flint has been compounded by decades of disinvestment by elected officials in cities and municipalities across Michigan, which caused critical water infrastructure to fail the people who depend on it. To cut costs, Flint’s water source was changed from the city of Detroit to the polluted Flint River, resulting in a state of emergency and an alarming number of children with lead poisoning.
Already, many Minnesota communities are facing serious water quality challenges. The E.P.A. estimates that $11 billion in water infrastructure improvements will be needed over the next twenty years. Without action, many families will face steep increases in their water bills, and this funding is necessary in order to ensure access to clean, safe drinking water for all Minnesotans. We can’t expect the land of sky blue waters to stay that way without improvement.
For these reasons and more, Minnesota needs immediate action. Governor Dayton has taken the lead on this issue, and we hope that something this important can be a bipartisan priority this session.