To drink or not to drink Flint’s tap water?

By Lucas Barinaga

NB: We thank Hope4Flint for helping us distribute our surveys and collect answers. The responses underneath may reflect a bias of sourcing data via a single channel. (We tried to get data from more people — the survey was public — but the people of Flint may be tired of answering outsiders’ questions. Our survey results are based on 20-21 responses.)

Our campaign in Flint helped us understand citizens’ resilience, perseverance and a painstakingly slow path to normality.

The answers to our first question (“Do you drink Flint tap water?”) were surprising but explainable:






Why did so many people say yes? It appeared that most people who answered “yes”  misunderstood the question, as 95% of respondents later said they “knew nobody who drinks Flint water.”

Where did they get their drinking water from? 90 percent said they get it from stores, donations or PODS (water resource sites that offer filters, bottled water and water testing kits).

Even though we expected that our respondents would not drink tap water, we thought that were avoiding it because they did not know how to get or use the water filters that are widely available. We were wrong: 80 percent of respondents knew how to purify their water with filters, but they still don’t want to drink it.