The Water Crisis in America
The American government doesn't care for its people – so it is time for the people to organize and focus on mutual aid. Listen to Jackson, Mississippi; Flint, Michigan; Indigenous reservations; Hawaii. America has a history of colonization and abandonment.
Jackson is among its state's poorest cities and has a predominantly Black population, just like Flint. The Indigenous population and other Hawaiian residents are asking tourists to stop coming.
Clean water is not just a necessity for the upper class, nor is it just for places with majority-white populations. Water is necessary for life.
The federal government's efforts to curb the water crisis include:
The United States military complex and over-tourism contribute to the domestic water crisis, according to Amber X. Chen.
U.S. Navy fuel contamination, just one example of the military's environmental impact, poses severe threats to Hawaii's water supply, produces unnecessary health hazards.
Tourists visiting Hawaii drink clean water not available to residents.
Tourism's economic hold on Hawaii is problematic alone: tourists create a need for more hotels and Indigenous communities are stripped of their land – fishing grounds becoming littered beach and ecosystems destroyed.
Indigenous reservations suffered when "a boil water order was issued in 1994 due to high turbidity," according to "Circle of Blue" reporter Jane Johnston. "It was not lifted until 2012 ... water has been contaminated with fecal matter in the past."
Centuries worth of evidence shows the struggles of Indigenous people under colonialism before the current water crisis: smallpox, forced removal from land, refusal of infrastructure, refusal of healthcare and increased risk of disease, such as COVID-19.
It is no coincidence that the government is less willing to help Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.
More examples of discriminatory infrastructure include the construction of interstate highway systems forcing Black and Brown people from their homes and Black communities across the U.S. "disproportionately harmed by flooding," according to the Center of Economic and Policy Research.
"Only about a dozen [Flint] homes" received lead service line replacements in 2022, and lead contamination levels continue to rise in the city's drinking water supply, according to "Michigan Live."
Jackson, without access to proper infrastructure and healthcare, suffered effects of the water crisis on-and-off since before 2022.
The city requested $47 million from the state "to update its failing water infrastructure" after a 225-day boil water advisory in 2021, but received a mere $3 million from the state, according to Triple Pundit.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves instead placed Jackson on legislature for specialized oversight to designate funding for local water infrastructure improvement programs.
Oversight and Reform Committee Chairs Bennie Thompson and Carolyn Maloney asked Reeves for further information on the racial composition and population size of communities that "received federal funds or are slated to receive those funds to improve their water systems," according to NBC News.
Sustainable water management in America would cost .78% of the United States' GDP.
While the U.S. Government upholds an oppressive system, accessible community solutions include organizations like the NAACP and AF3IRM, mutual aid organizations and community fridges which directly help those struggling with these ongoing crises.
By SUMMER SMITH
Featured image courtesy of Benjamin Lausch