News Alert: Public Health Experts, Environment Justice Orgs. Gather to Urge Michigan Mayors To Turn Water On ASAP

Posted on April 1, 2020 by



Media Contact: Tiana Starks
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Public Health Experts, Environment Justice Orgs. Gather to Urge Michigan Mayors To Turn Water On ASAP
Statewide #TurnWaterOn Collaborative Responds to Governor Gretchen’s Executive Order

Detroit, MI (April 1, 2020) – Michigan residents and public health experts are calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to work with her newly created Michigan Advisory Council for Environmental Justice (MAC EJ) to enforce the executive order she issued on March 28, 2020 to have water restored for all residences that were previously turned off. Michigan mayors and water service providers must ensure that residential water services are restored timely, transparently, and equitably. To remain in compliance with the order all residences’ must have water restored by April 12, 2020.

Detroit and Michigan have become national epicenters for the Coronavirus in the U.S. and the Governor and her administration must work quickly to restore life-saving resources, such as clean water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Monday afternoon, the state ranked fourth in the nation in the number of confirmed cases per capita with 6,498 cases and 183 deaths.

“We thank Governor Whitmer for her leadership through the Executive Order to turn water on to all homes,” said Nick Leonard, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. “We also thank Governor Whitmer for the $2 million in grant funding for utilities to restore life-saving residential water services. Now we ask the Governor to use her own MAC EJ to ensure water is turned on right away to those suffering and unable to wash their hands.”

The MAC EJ was created to address ongoing environmental justice issues and was set up to have people that are impacted daily at the table to advise on critical environmental issues, like drinking water. MAC EJ was strategically crafted to provide opportunities for those on the frontlines to weigh in on environmental protections, regulations, and policies in Michigan that will be fair and meaningful to all Michiganders, regardless of geography, race, color, origin, or income.

“Without water to wash hands and food entering homes, COVID-19 will continue to spread,” said Nadia Gaber, MD/PhD Candidate at the University of California San Francisco. “One only need to look at a map of COVID-19 cases in Michigan to understand how vital access to clean, safe water is to public health.”

“While mayors of some Michigan cities put into place a moratorium on water shut offs and called for the restoration of residential water services over the last month; said Jill Ryan, Freshwater Future Executive Director, “turning on water to residents’ homes has been slow and the process unclear. Meanwhile, community members continue to suffer without access to clean, safe water in their homes.”

“I did not create the phrase DO NO HARM, but I took an oath upon graduating medical school to uphold it forever more. From a public health standpoint, depriving people of water is both deplorable and dangerous under the best of circumstances. In the face of this COVID19 pandemic it rises to the level of a criminal act. Not only does it put the affected person or family in grave danger, it also enables the contagion to spread like a wildfire endangering everyone in the community and country, like gasoline on a forest fire. Only when all of us fully comprehend our interrelatedness and interdependence, and act accordingly, will we have a bright future for all people – one wherein human compassion, decency, dignity, health and safety prevail,” said Wendy Sternberg, MD, Physician and Medical Strategist, Public Health Institute Ad Hoc Team and Founder and Executive Director, Genesis at the Crossroads.


Social Media


Sample Tweets:
@GovWhitmer Thank you for ordering the water back on across Michigan, due to the urgency, please utilize the MACEJ to assist with transparency and reporting. #TurnWaterOn #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable #CleanWaterSavesLives

{Your City’s Twitter Handle} #TurnWaterOn now so my neighbors can wash their hands and save lives. @GovWhitmer use the #MACEJ to ensure accountability and transparency, as #CleanWaterSavesLives. #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable

Michigan water systems, both rural and urban, please ensure residents have water. Ensure people have water across Michigan. Please donate to local efforts at #TurnWaterOn #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable #CleanWaterSavesLives

The faster water service is restored, the more lives can be saved! Thank you@GovWhitmer. #TurnWaterOn #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable #CleanWaterSavesLives

{Your City’s Twitter Handle} The faster water service is restored, the more lives can be saved! @GovWhitmer use the MACEJ to track progress. #TurnWaterOn #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable #CleanWaterSavesLives

Thank you @GovWhitmer for ordering water service restored. Municipalities, please move fast to save lives. Donate to local efforts at #TurnWaterOn #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable #CleanWaterSavesLives

#TurnWaterOn quickly to save lives. @GovWhitmer, please use the MAC EJ to push for speedy response of municipalities. #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable #CleanWaterSavesLives

#CleanWaterSavesLives donate to provide water until all water services are restored, #TurnWaterOn #KeepWaterOn #MakeWaterAffordable


© 2022 Freshwater Future. All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.