Flint’s Water Bills Set to Double Over Next 5 Years
A new report says that Flint's already high water bills will double by 2022 under the current system.
Several reputable news outlets are reporting that the projected water rate hike that was unveiled in a new Michigan Department of Treasury report. The current average Flint water bill is at $53.84/month (without sewer charges), but if no changes are made to the current system, those costs will reach $110.11/month by 2022.
Reasons cited in the report for the high cost include the fact that Flint's water system is built for 200,000 people (more than double the size it needs to be) and is in a state of disrepair that causes leaks and other problems. It also points to the city's cost of buying water (from Detroit) and paying to treat it, as oppose to just doing one or the other.
The reasoning behind these projections don't make a lot of sense, because once the KWA pipeline is finished (which could be as early as next month) we will no longer be buying water from Detroit. Plus, there will almost definitely be changes to Flint's water system, as significant federal funding has been put forth for such things, and it seems unlikely that "flushing the system" will be the only action taken to repair the system.
Treasurer Nick Khouri says that several things can be done to prevent the projected increases, including reducing the size of the system and "finding low-cost infrastructure funding." Governor Snyder has asked the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee for help finding ways to prevent the looming increases. Snyder said of the report, "This was really forecasted based on existing pieces of information, and the real question – the real work that needs to be done – is how do we change that curve?" Hopefully the answer isn't "cutting corners." That's how we got here in the first place.