LISTEN: Flint Mayor Speaks Out on City’s Water Crisis

By Yessenia Funes Dec 09, 2016

The city of Flint, Michigan, is still dealing with its water crisis nearly a year after Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency. And fixing it depends largely on money.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered, Weaver explains that she’s optimistic about resolving the issue—despite the 29,000 water lines connected to homes that need replacing. She admits, however, that she had hoped for more in terms of the progress the city made in the last year.

“We know we deserve to have more money, and I’m hoping that there’s going to be a vote in the next week or so saying that Flint is going to get some more money for infrastructure because Flint still deserves that,” Weaver tells NPR.

Currently, two bills adding up to $170 million are moving through Congress to fund replacing water lines for the city. The bill passed the U.S. House yesterday (December 8) and is now heading to the Senate.

As NPR’s Ari Shapiro points out though, infrastructure isn’t all the mayor has to work on rebuilding; trust has been broken, too. “That’s a tough one,” Weaver says, “and rebuilding trust is harder than rebuilding infrastructure.”

The city’s ultimate goal, she says, is for residents to be able to drink water right from the tap. Flint residents are still relying on bottled and filtered water to meet their needs. Little Miss Flint, a young resident who has been an active voice for her city, tweeted on Thanksgiving that her family’s meal required six packages of water—totaling 144 bottles.

Mayor Karen Weaver told NPR that the city hopes to have 1,000 water lines replaced by the end of the year. About 600 are already done, she says. 

Listen to the full interview here or below.