Project Management Lessons from the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan
In January 2016, the world learned that the U.S. city of Flint, Michigan was enduring a water crisis with thousands of residents poisoned by public water contaminated with lead. An article by Paul Egan appearing in USA Today disclosed that Marc Edwards, a drinking water expert and Virginia Tech researcher helped raise awareness after he confirmed two major contaminants—iron and lead. City authorities switched the source of drinking water two years earlier from Detroit to the Flint River which corroded the city’s aging service lines and resulted in “dangerously high amounts of lead” in the drinking water. Last week, President Obama signed an emergency declaration authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide bottled water, filters, and testing supplies for 90 days.
While officials address the immediate needs of residents, planning for future infrastructure improvements continues, not only in Flint but also in other cities around the globe. A PMI case study describes how project management practices, tools, and benchmarks can help in similar reconstruction and modernization projects.
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