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Short-changing Michigan local governments has resulted in deteriorating water systems and other services

"Faucet" by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Some cities are struggling to maintain their drinking water systems.

However, it all comes down to money.

The most well-known drinking water crisis in Michigan was Flint. Government officials made some bad decisions and children were poisoned.

"Flint was a financial crisis long before it was a water crisis, and those two things are intricately connected."

That’s Stephanie Leiser, a lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. She says a government attempt to save money caused the water crisis.

New federal money is coming to Michigan to fix things like water infrastructure. But cities have been patching together their systems a long time.

“The backlog is so big, the deferred maintenance is so large that I doubt it's going to make a huge difference.”

Leiser and other experts say the real difference will come when the feds, state, and towns find a way to fix the funding problem long term.