America's Water Wars - Conflict Is Coming

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Farron Cousins via,

On January 16, 2016, President Obama declared a federal emergency for the city of Flint, Michigan, over the contamination of the city’s drinking water.

One year later, not only is the city still struggling to provide clean sources of water to the Michigan city’s population, but the plight of residents in Flint has opened up the conversation about a water crisis in the United States that very few people even knew existed.

The sad story of Flint, Michigan, gained national attention because it was a crisis that was entirely avoidable, at least for the time being. Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was looking for ways to cut costs, so he hired an outside manager to come up with ideas on how to do that. Unfortunately, one of the ideas that was put into action was to change the source of Flint’s drinking water from the Detroit water system to the Flint River, which was known to be heavily polluted. When that contaminated water hit the city’s aging water delivery infrastructure, the chemicals interacted with the lead pipes, causing dangerous levels of lead contamination for residents who did not have water filters.

The problem with Flint, and the problem with many water delivery systems throughout the United States, is that lead pipes are time bombs.

Like most metals, lead will break down over time, especially when it is exposed to corrosive water throughout its existence. When you have close to 1.2 million miles of lead pipes for water delivery in America — pipes that only have a lifespan of about 75 years and many are reaching that age — you have a recipe for disaster that experts warn will cost close to $1 trillion to fix.

The only reason that the crisis in Flint, Michigan, was brought to the public’s attention was because of one woman, a pediatrician named Mona Hanna-Attisha, who began noticing the symptoms of lead poisoning in an extremely large number of children from Flint. Dr. Hanna-Attisha went public with this information, which prompted investigations from civil engineers, leading to the unveiling of the problem. At the time of Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s discovery, the contaminated water had been flowing through taps in Flint for two years.

Sadly, Flint is just a tiny piece in a much larger story. Likely the reason the crisis in Flint made national headlines is because of the level of political incompetence that went along with it. But the story did wake people up to the idea that dangerous water could be anywhere, and that led to investigations by reporters who uncovered one of the potentially most overlooked stories of 2016.

On December 19, 2016, Reuters released a startling report about America’s drinking water. Reuters’ investigation concluded that there were nearly 3,000 other locales in the United States where the lead contamination in drinking water was at least double the rates found in Flint’s drinking water. These were not areas where the contamination was the same, or even slightly elevated. No, these 3,000 areas have contamination levels that came in at least twice as high as Flint.

From the Reuters report:

The poisoned places on this map stretch from Warren, Pennsylvania, a town on the Allegheny River where 36 percent of children tested had high lead levels, to a zip code on Goat Island, Texas, where a quarter of tests showed poisoning. In some pockets of Baltimore, Cleveland and Philadelphia, where lead poisoning has spanned generations, the rate of elevated tests over the last decade was 40 to 50 percent.


Like Flint, many of these localities are plagued by legacy lead: crumbling paint, plumbing, or industrial waste left behind. Unlike Flint, many have received little attention or funding to combat poisoning.


To identify these locations, Reuters examined neighborhood-level blood testing results, most of which have not been previously disclosed. The data, obtained from state health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tracks poisoning rates among children tested in each location.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 2.5 percent of children in the United States have elevated levels of lead in their blood, a direct result of drinking contaminated water.

The World Health Organization, as reported by the Huffington Post, says that infants and small children may exhibit no signs of lead poisoning in their early years, but that the effects of lead on brain development become evident in adolescence. According to the Huffington Post:

Once kids reach school age, cognition problems, including lower IQ and ADHD-like symptoms start to show up. Lead exposure has been linked to physical problems, such as anemia, kidney dysfunction and high blood pressure, as well as behavioral problems, including aggressive behavior and problems with the criminal justice system.

We should also note that in these studies of contamination, researchers focused only on lead contamination. The levels of other toxins such as mercury, arsenic, and commercial and household chemical contamination could potentially make the water in these areas and others far more toxic than this set of data indicates.

Complicating matters further is the fact that testing children for lead contamination typically falls on states and municipalities, and that funding is drying up quickly. In short, states not only lack the funds to repair their aging water infrastructure, but they also lack the necessary funds to study the negative effects of that aging water delivery system on the public.

While the widespread contamination should raise alarm bells for every American, what might be even more terrifying is the fact that analysts are predicting that in a few decades, we’ll be lucky if we can even afford to drink contaminated water.

According to a new report from Michigan State University (MSU), a variety of compounding factors in the United States could easily push large portions of the population out of the financial range to even afford water in the future.

From the MSU report:

A variety of pressures ranging from climate change, to sanitation and water quality, to infrastructure upgrades, are placing increasing strain on water prices. Estimates of the cost to replace aging infrastructure in the United States alone project over $1 trillion dollars are needed in the next 25 years to replace systems built circa World War II, which could triple the cost of household water bills…


Over the next few decades, water prices are anticipated to increase to four times current levels. Prices could go higher if cities look to private providers for water services, who have a tendency to charge higher rates than public providers. These pressures on water systems, combined with the fact that water is a vital necessity to sustain life, place this issue at the forefront of 21st century infrastructure challenges. While studies have found that Americans are willing to pay more to maintain and ensure access to water resources, this willingness to pay may conflict with their fundamental ability to pay for water.

The report notes that water prices across the country have risen by about 41 percent since 2010, and if this particular trend continues, 35.6 percent of American households will not be able to afford water services within the next five years.

In short, the water affordability crisis is not something that is a few decades off, or even a single decade off: More than 40 million American citizens could find themselves unable to afford water in the next five years if both stagnating incomes and increasing water prices stay on their current trajectories.

These problems are very real, and they are problems that are generally not gaining very much attention. While the water contamination crisis will occasionally steal a headline or two, virtually no attention has been paid to the fact that we’re pricing a third of United States citizens out of the water market.

Resource scarcity breeds conflict. That’s been true throughout human history. And when we’re talking about something like water — the single most important thing to sustain life — the looming scarcity should be a top concern for every American citizen.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
WillyGroper's picture

engineered scarcity.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

The lead scare is almost as bad as the global warming  scam.  At least with lead there is some measuable effect.  That said I grew up in an area with lead pipes.  It's no big deal.  IQ tested out at 150.  I think we'll be alright in that regard.

I have noticed that it seemed like the globalists were trying to prepare the way for "water scarcity".  You hear about in Brazil how they tried to buy up the water then tell poor people they have to buy their water.  That ended badly for the globalists thankfully.  Then there is the stuff you hear about the Bush Crime Family buying into a huge aquifer in South America.  I'm not buying it.  Sure we could do a better job of protecting our water.  But this apocalyptic talk is pure hype for sales purposes.

Oh and by the way I just checked the blog this is from.  It is a global warmer website.  That's a deal breaker for me.  I won't read a thing these talentless hacks write.

Pinto Currency's picture

Above article looks at surface water while ignoring primary water.

There appears to be a vast amount of primary water:

DownWithYogaPants's picture

ZH must sell those above slots as quasi ZH stories when they are in reality not advertisements.  Only that explains why such a clueless blog would be included.

MalteseFalcon's picture

This is utter bullshit.

There will be no water wars.

Did anyone tell this fucktard that Cali is now swimming in water?

Yeah, the infrastructure could use some work.

Maybe Trump will put it on the list, maybe not.

We're not privatizing water, BTW.

Fuck you, Nestle.




The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) MalteseFalcon Jan 25, 2017 8:54 PM

Here are two solutions:

1) Many faucet water filters will filter out lead and heavy metals.

2) Lead water transmission pipes can relatively easily be lined with new PVC pipe without taking them out of the ground.  We've been doing it with aging gas line for decades.

Problem mitigated.

xythras's picture
xythras (not verified) The Saint Jan 25, 2017 8:56 PM

Wait till you sea the Sea Water War with China. Now that we have a new SEA CAPTAIN:

Trump Picks Former Intelligence Officer to lead US Navy


MisterMousePotato's picture

The person above is right. Utter bullshit.

Only reason water costs so much (or anything at all, ffs) is because it's the next best thing (for .gov employees) to taxing us for air.

Déjà view's picture

Threat of using Flint as a Water Boarding location should make 'em talk...

toady's picture

Just put in a 2nd well, 125 gallons a minute....

Replaced all the pipes with pvc decades ago....

I'm feeling pretty good about my water!

ed31337's picture

A "friend of mine" drilled his first water well last summer using nothing but discarded bandsaw blade pieces pressed into a galvanized pipe coupling with a slot cut and attached to the end of his "drill stem" schedule 80 PVC pipe. Lucky bastard didn't hit any serious rocks on the way down and had water within two months of drilling on and off using a cordless hand drill and his two bare hands.

The "water shortage" narrative is simply the next "global warming"-like scam to fool people into letting the political elite pass a bunch of "water protection" legislation and then bend them over a barrel on their water bills. Most people don't have the balls to go outside and drill their own well to see if there really is any shortage of water, so they'll just suck it up and pay through the nose forever.

not dead yet's picture

So what do you do with the small pipes leading into the house from the mains? Years ago in our town the succession of city engineers had the hots for lead pipes and that's all they would allow. Around here that's not so bad as our water has lots of minerals in it and those coat the pipes. One town over the water is very acidic and if they have lead pipes the lead will be stripped out by the water. Got this schooling from the pros when they replaced my water and sewer pipes.

HockeyFool's picture

I'll tell you what is utter bullshit, the statement that the Michigan governor was behind this. I live in Michigan. The decision to use a new water source was made by the Flint city council. Composed of all black democrats, and has been that way for decades.

I stopped reading the article right then and there. The fact that this "author" could not even do basic research and instead spewed democrat talking points, rendered the rest of his article worthless.

Proctologist's picture

Flint is simple: The state agency in charge of ensuring safe drinking water failed to do its job. In part because the City was essentially bankrupt from decades of mismanagement, in part because the state appointed receiver and the incompetent City Council ignored sound advice to ad Phosphates to the water to increase the Ph. Higher Ph, means mineral deposits stay on the pipes, keeping the lead from dissolving.

I haven't read the MSU report, but I don't doubt that our water infrastructure is aging.

The more prudent step toward conserving water resources IMHO involved not moving people to the desert....

Stuck on Zero's picture

The untold story with Flint is that the fluorides added to the water badly corroded the old pipes.  A large part of the water crisis in the U.S. is the drugging of the population by pschoactive drugs like fluorides. Almost 500 published studies now show fluorides are as harmful as aluminum or lead.

DingessStinkfinger's picture

Piss off then and put yer 150 IQ (eyes roll) to something other than writing pompous crap on the internet 

Ponk's picture

Well if you've given lead pipes the all clear I'm sure the globe will collectively sigh with relief, especially given your high IQ. Too many people take accumulated scientific research too seriously, I think. Once word of your pronouncement spreads though, I'm sure everyone will feel much better.

Krungle's picture

Sure, you grew up with lead pipes. How long ago was that? It has to do with the decay over time--when the pipes were newer there was less leaching. Having been involved in water testing, I can confirm this is a real issue. It is real science. Lead pipes decay according to known chemistry, there is nothing mysterious about it. The biological effects are well understood and real. The pipes need to be replaced nationwide, end of story and there shouldn't be anything to discuss. There are other parts of our national infrastructure that are pretty important as well and they ought to be replaced, no questions asked. There's not an acceptable cost of retardation in society. Just fix the problem. So what, a global warmist got an actual bit of science right. The science is right, just the rest of the idiots thought process isn't (probably because of lead and flouride, that's a combo sure to give you Hillary voters). 

As to water scarcity, yes, of course aquifers are being drained. To think otherwise is to be willfully dumb. Oil reservoirs get depleted, water reservoirs get depleted. There is a finite amount in pockets under the ground. You suck it all up and it disappears from the ground. Duh. We can debate whether water and/or oil reservoirs get refilled from deeper layers and at what rate. But they do get drained, and the refill rates might be millenium. Is there a "scarcity" of water? No. There is a scarcity of easy to get water in some areas. Obviously we could do desalinization on large scales. Obviously we could build water pipelines from Alaska and Canada to the lower 48. Obviously we could encourage people to migrate from desert areas back to the Great Lakes region, where there is ample water. There are solutions. Some are more cost prohibitive than others. But yes, I hate to break it to you, if you stick a straw into a pool of water underground that has finite dimensions and suck and suck and suck, one day the water will be gone. And that is stupid if it was easy to get water and was wasted on idiotic pursuits like growing crops in areas they shouldn't be, golf courses in the fucking desert, people in the desert, anyone in Los Angeles, etc.

ed31337's picture

Growing crops is not the problem, it's shipping produce away en mass by huge corporate agriculture that depletes the land of precious resources. If people grew and strictly consumed produce locally, there would be no problem because the water used would be recycled back into the ground when they take a pee. It's just like conservation of energy -- you can't destroy water, only convert it into alternate forms and move it around. Stop shipping it away in the form of produce and fix your irrigation system to eliminate evaporation and you won't have any shortage of water.

runswithscissors's picture

"Lead exposure has been linked to physical problems, such as anemia, kidney dysfunction and high blood pressure, as well as behavioral problems, including aggressive behavior and problems with the criminal justice system."  

The dindus are getting too much of the wrong form of lead exposure.

BabaLooey's picture

"Oh and by the way I just checked the blog this is from.  It is a global warmer website.  That's a deal breaker for me.  I won't read a thing these talentless hacks write."

Bingo. Nice catch YogaPants...

I am starting to "out" the writers of drivel like this on other sites. 

Copy and paste their names, and ask "who ARE these people that wrote this???"


One of my teachings is CRITICAL THINKING.

Take any Yahoo article. They put the "authors" of them (hit pieces on Trump/vagina gushers on Canks and Barry) at the BOTTOM of the piece many times. You find "Mohammed El Douche" Mary Jones-Goldstein", "Elyssa Frankel" and the like.

BIZARRE first and surnames many times. People you've NEVER heard of. It's like Yahoo fetches them from Sanaa, or Mecca.

Who ARE those people that are given those click-bait-tish headlines and space to invade your brain?


Ponk's picture

Critical thinking sure. Your students must be irreversibly moronic by now. Do they oo and ah when you show them how bold caps allows you to add nuance to your tone? How do they react when you break it to them that logic, experimentation, and reason are a conspiracy that allows the intelligent to dominate the stupid and that if you close your eyes and imagine big bold letters the truth becomes whatever you desire it to be? I bet they worship you like a god after that.

Laddie's picture

Well if by that you mean the TSUNAMI of immigrants from 3rd World increasing the need for potable water then yes, it is ENGINEERED SCARCITY.

"Overpopulation in the United States will become THE single greatest issue facing Americans in the 21st century. We either solve it proactively or nature will solve it brutally for us via water shortages, energy crisis, air pollution, gridlock, species extinction and worse.

U.S. population will double from 300 million to 600 million on its way to 1 billion in the lifetime of a child born today if we fail to change course."

Frosty Wooldridge 2000

Professor Kevin MacDonald’s ‘The Culture of Critique’ Reviewed emeritus professor of psychology at California State University - Long Beach

It is often said that when the old immigration policy was scrapped in 1965, scarcely anyone knew, and no one predicted, that the new law would change the racial makeup of the country. Prof. MacDonald disputes this, arguing that this had been the objective of Jewish groups from the beginning.

MisterMousePotato's picture

Immigration gumballs. If you've not seen this, you must. Mandatory viewing for those who want to understand the problem and the stakes:

It's not politics. It's not racism. It's not economics. It's math.

Grandad Grumps's picture

There is not shortage of water or oil. The false shortages are simply for fraud and control.

skinwalker's picture

Water is a relatively common compound in the universe. Saturns rings contain orders of magnitude more than earths oceans. The moon Europa is similar.

skinwalker's picture

Given my own level of mercury exposure, which reached absurd proportions in my early childhood, I am convinced the dangers of heavy metal poisoning are overstated.

1980XLS's picture

Why? you are not fucking Retarded, like Pica Negroes eating paint chips?

Nobodys Home's picture

I remember the old single pane windows we had as a kid. There was always a gray dust on the could rub it with a stick and write with it...from 50 years of lead paint.

runswithscissors's picture

I thought it was a map of districts that voted for Hitlery in the 2016 elections...  lead exposure creates democrap voters?

Nobodys Home's picture

Well, you're a ZHr, so there's that :)

shovelhead's picture

Given your first post, I would have to say you're decidedly underestimating the effects of mercury on your cognitive skills.

sinbad2's picture

Are you short and skinny, can you pick up a bag of cement?

That's what Mercury does to you if you are exposed when a kid.

But it's a bit better than lead, which leaves you permanently stupid if exposed as a child.

Lost in translation's picture

Interestingly enough, candy made in Mexico has been shown to contain lead.

Now, let that sink in for a little while...

Lost in translation's picture

Whatever you do, CUT OFF CALIFORNIA.

This state cries out to Heaven for Judgment.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Cali water is pretty bad. We have detectable levels of estrogens and pharmaceuticals which cannot be removed by standard filtration. My well water is far cleaner. Not that this can be an excuse for our insanity.


e-man's picture

Canada has tons of water.  And oil.  Just sayin...

sinbad2's picture

But do you have enough lead pipe to get it to the US. I guess you could use arsenic pipes, or maybe Uranium pipes, that way the water might glow a little.

ghengis86's picture

Lead, GMO, HFCS, vaccines, mess for every man woman and child, Fukushima, fluoride, really funds a way to fuck itself up with its own hubris.

Nuclear is safe!
Trust us, the lead won't leech when properly treated water flows through!
High activity in kids isn't healthy; here take this pill!
You don't want that nuisance, non-life threatening Mumps do you? Here's a shot for you 2-week old!

Fuck them all


Dasani wants you. And your wallet. Fuckers. 

Nobodys Home's picture

Nestle is the company that truly believes they should control the worlds water supply,

Chippewa Partners's picture

I have been long PHO for years.  Gartman made as much money the last 3 years as I have in this ETF since forever............ 

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Ever see light-skinned folk on TV begging for money to build wells in Africa.


Pretty weird that Flint, MI is predominately African... and they are in need of water. 




CANADA will sell you water for $1000.00 USD per gallon, USA, but you better act quickly because the price is going up.

Rock On Roger's picture

No, Canada prefers to give the water away to mighty international corporations so 'shareholders' can profit.


Then again, the crown owns the water, we are loyal serfs.

Savvy's picture

Yeah Nestle got Christie Clark to sell BC's water for ~$2.00/million litres. With the democrats in office you yanks can drink Canada dry. of course consumers won't be paying that price. lol.

moonman's picture

If there were only some way to get it here....a pipeline perhaps? Nah the environment warriors would protest it

Ness.'s picture

Water wars?  Scarcity?  Haha. Sorry, but no. It's a Distribution of water $War$. A planet that is covered in 70% water and we have a water emergency? Desalination has been around for eons.  Aristotle figured this out a looong time ago. Politicians have created this tragedy.  No wonder the aliens visit us and then fly away laughing. 


'In the abundance of water,
The fool is thirsty' ~ B.Marley.  Rat Race

shovelhead's picture

They fly away?

I thought they stayed in Denver.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Come on, we're drinking the same water dinosaurs drank millions of years ago. Besides It won't be long before desalination technology trumps fresh water reservoirs all over the planet.

Which reminds me, what ever happened to the 'peak oil' bullshit articles here on ZH?