Water, Water, Everywhere? The Flint Water Crisis


When the city of Flint switched its source of municipal drinking water to the Flint River, the water lacked corrosion control treatment. The contaminated water led to multiple residents being diagnosed with lead poisoning, while an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease believed to be linked directly to the river water resulted in numerous deaths. This case encourages students to appraise the Flint water crisis, the roles of key individuals and stakeholders, and what is now being done to remedy the situation. This case will allow students to apply ethical theories and concepts to the Flint water crisis specifically, as well as to discuss emerging issues around water access and affordability, water pollution and quality, delayed infrastructure investment, and the impacts of social and economic inequality as they make a text-to-world connection.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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