A socioeconomic stratification in US water infrastructure?

We all know about the problems of Flint’s water supply, and the relationship between poor communities and infrastructure problems. We also know about the more general decay of our water infrastructure. Robert Glennon has knitted those two problems together with an interesting argument:

Episodes such as Flint undermine the public’s confidence in the safety of their drinking water. As Americans begin to doubt the quality of municipal water, some will opt out, choosing to install expensive water filtration systems in their homes. When more affluent citizens no longer have a stake in maintaining high-quality municipal water, that leaves behind people of more modest means – people without the same influence on elected officials.

It is a disturbing possibility.



  1. Unfortunately this sort of ‘social Darwinism’ isn’t just a disturbing possibility, increasingly it’s being institutionalized.

  2. When I worked in Haiti for the UN, the response of the rich to the incredibly bad roads was simply to buy expensive SUVs. Analogous to what is happening with unportable water supplies.

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