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  • Writer's pictureAlysha Lewis

The City of Detroit is Underwater Yet Again

Detroit residents are underwater yet again. On June 26th, Detroit was faced with 24 hours of nonstop rain. The rain comes after a series of weather reports stating there will be nine days of consecutive rain. Many Detroit residents were left stuck on the various flooded highways, trapped in their homes, and left with indescribable flood damage.

Last week, Detroit was hit with more than five inches of rain in a matter of 24 hours. This historic rainfall caused immense flooding throughout Metro Detroit.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, addressed the city of Detroit in a tweet, “Our city has experienced extraordinary rainfall of nearly 6 inches in 24 hours, far beyond the capacity of Southeast Michigan’s stormwater system and the forecast calls for the rains to continue,” said Mayor Mike Duggan on June 26, adding, “City water, roads, and police and fire staff are working around the clock to help those in need, and to ease flooding conditions as quickly as possible.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency on June 26, “I’ve declared a state of emergency in response to extraordinary flooding in southeast Michigan. This will unlock additional resources today and in the days to come as we work to respond to heavy rainfall and assess additional flooding across the state.”

Photo via Twitter.

“We are continuing to monitor the severe weather events happening across Michigan to ensure we are being proactive in every way possible. Our main priority is making sure everyone stays safe,” she added.”

The rainstorm left more than 1,000 cars left abandoned on Metro Detroit highways.

However, this is not the first rainstorm that has left extreme damage to Detroit’s freeways, homes, and cars.

In 2014, Detroit was hit with six inches of rain in four hours according to the National Weather Service.

Photo of Detroit 2014 floods courtesy of David Coates/Detroit News, via Associated Press.

Since 2014, the city of Detroit has done nothing to prevent these massive floods from happening. Detroit has not made any visible efforts to fix and upgrade the drainage systems that have continuously failed Detroit residents.

In 2019, Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Water and Sewage Department announced a 5-year $500 million program to upgrade the city’s water and sewers systems.

The DWSD Capital Improvement Program (CIP) addresses the need to improve water and sewer systems’ reliability. Previously the department solely used the frequency of water main breaks and water-in-basement complaints to drive the strategy. This led to projects being done across the city without a cohesive plan for a neighborhood. Now, DWSD assesses the condition of the water and sewer infrastructure and develops a plan for rehabilitating those systems, which takes into account other public or private investments to a neighborhood. Factors such as the probability of a failure (breaks, sinkholes, etc.), as well as the consequence of failure (i.e. near a school or hospital, the risk is higher), are also included to prioritize the CIP strategy.

The program was set to improve the city of Detroit by:

  • Reducing water main breaks

  • Reducing street flooding and sewer system failures;

  • Reducing future investment in new Combined Sewer Overflow facilities (wet weather treatment);

  • Increasing acres managed by green stormwater infrastructure (GSI);

  • Coordinating with other public and private agencies to maximize dollars invested and minimize disruption from construction activity;

  • Increasing job opportunities for Detroiters; and

  • Upgrading and maintaining facilities, equipment, and systems for effective operations.

According to Metro Times, “Detroit is poised to receive $826 million from the federal American Rescue Plan, and groups like Detroit Will Breathe are calling for Duggan to allocate the money to repairing Detroit’s infrastructure. The group planned a protest outside the Mayor’s Manoogian Mansion on Monday afternoon to demand input from city residents on how the funds are spent.”

Detroit residents expressed their extreme disappointment with the city’s lack of resources and urge to fix the city’s infrastructure.

Detroit resident Austin Ikechi expressed his disappointment via Twitter, “Since moving to Detroit, I’ve had to come to terms with lack of basic amenities. But today was unacceptable in 2021 USA. The city floods when it rains. Saw two guys swim from a car stuck in a flood. Social determinants of health, #AmericanRescuePlan, #Detroit deserves better.”

More twitter users expressed their disappointment in Detroit,

Photo via Twiter.

Photo via Twitter.

According to The Detroit News, “The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Public Works, and General Services are assessing the storm’s impact and launched a hotline to make claims for damaged property. Residents can call (313) 267–8000 or go to the department’s website to file a claim. The city is encouraging residents to take photographs of the damage and keep receipts from cleaning or repairs.”

There is hope that the city’s infrastructure will be improved to prevent these massive floods from occurring in the future. Residents and business owners have suffered horrendous damage to their property and personal belongings. The only way to stop making Detroit residents from suffering is to make a change by fixing the problems within the city.

The massive flood of 2021 should serve as a wake-up call to the Governor and Mayor of Detroit to put the focus on fixing Detroit’s infrastructure.

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