Residents in Flint, Michigan, have been battling for months to fix the questionable brown water that trickles out of their faucets. But according to a new study released by Food & Water Watch, Flint residents — who arguably suffer from worst water utility situation in the country — are paying twice the national average for their water.
According to the study, Flint residents have been paying about $864 annually for their water service which is about three and a half times what is paid in nearby Detroit, and the highest rate in the country. United Nations guidelines stipulate that the cost for clean water should not exceed three percent of household income, but in Flint, that rate hovers around seven percent.
“It far exceeds what the United Nations designates as affordable for water and sewer service," Mary Grant, one of the study's authors, told the Detroit Free Press.
Lawyers have conceded that the reason for the exorbitant water rates is corruption. City officials have secretly been using taxpayers’ funds for other uses and to fund other city needs:
"They've been using that money improperly for years to fund the general operations of the city," attorney Valdemar L. Washington told The Detroit Free Press.
The next highest water rates are Bellevue, Washington, where residents pay $855 annually, and Padre Dam Municipal Water District in California, where residents pay $826.