DETROIT, MICH. (October 6, 2017) – The Detroit Branch NAACP and Healing Our Waters–Great Lakes Coalition held a press briefing today, Friday October 6, 2017 at 10 a.m. to discuss potential fixes to the City of Detroit’s Water System.  Representatives from the Detroit Branch NAACP and Healing Our Waters–Great Lakes Coalition addressed the country’s $660 billion water infrastructure crisis; $1.4 billion is in Wayne County.

Though the federal infrastructure budget is still in the air, Detroit Branch NAACP is spurring the discussion now with the hopes that area leaders can move faster to influence Congress and implement important municipal changes.

“The Detroit Branch NAACP will continue to work in partnership and tandem with organizations that focus on improving quality of life issues for our community,” says Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, Detroit Branch NAACP President.  “Improvements to Detroit and Wayne County’s water infrastructure will boost quality of life in several ways including creating a healthier community and it can also be a jobs provider.  Let’s be proactive and work to improve Detroit’s and other urban areas water infrastructure now before the costs continue to rise and deteriorate even further.”

National infrastructure is traditionally thought of as projects requiring metal and concrete – including roads, bridges and freight lines. Many experts and influencers across the country want to update the conversation to recognize a range of needs, including issues like urban and rural access to broadband.

“Our nation faces a water infrastructure crisis that demands our federal government step up to the plate as a partner with local communities,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Federal investments in the Great Lakes are producing results in Detroit and around the region, but clearly more needs to be done. Congress can invest in solutions to help local communities to protect our drinking water, economy, and way of life. Delay will only make these problems worse and more costly to solve.”

The call for federal action comes as communities across the country grapple with a staggering backlog of work to fix, repair, and modernize their drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Nearly $180 billion is needed over the next twenty years, according to the EPA, to update the wastewater and drinking water infrastructure in the eight-state Great Lakes region of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and New York. Nationally, the tab is approximately $660 billion.

The state of Michigan faces, according to the EPA, more than $2 billion to fix wastewater and storm water infrastructure, with more than $1.4 billion of that needed in Wayne County.  Great Lakes communities—many of whom have high rates of poverty—cannot afford to pay for these upgrades alone, which are often extremely expensive. Rising water rates put families at risk for having their water turned off. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition believes that every person deserves the right to clean, safe, affordable drinking water as well as wastewater services.

At the conclusion of the press briefing a round table discussion will be with a diverse group of legislators, leaders, municipal workers and community organizers.  The participants in the round table each have diverse viewpoints on urban water systems and will dialogue on infrastructure solutions the City of Detroit should pursue.


The Detroit Branch NAACP is the largest branch in the Association.  For more information please call
(313) 871-2087.