The Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, on Monday, took home five gallons of filtered tap water, from a house owned by Cheryl Hill and Todd Canty that had been confirmed to have high levels of lead, in Flint. The Republican Governor has been facing persistent criticism for the way he has been handling the water crisis in this city and has apologized.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder drinks filtered Flint tap water with Flint resident Cheryl Hill while listening to her concerns with the city’s ongoing water crisis at her home Monday. Credit: Jake May / The Flint Journal via AP

Gov. Snyder said he would restock on Flint water during regular trips to the city, to the Detroit municipal system, which is reeling from elevated levels of lead and other contaminants after a state-approved switch of drinking water sources in 2014. Dangerously high levels of the toxic metal were detected in the blood of some residents, including children, for whom it can cause lower IQs and behavioral problems.

The reason why he decided to drink tap water was to make people trust him, and the water and he hopes his decision to drink tap water will “alleviate some of the skepticism and mistrust” that has left many residents scared to drink or even shower. He hopes that if he says the water is okay to drink, the people will drink it too.

“Flint residents made it clear that they would like to see me personally drink the water, so today I am fulfilling that request,” Mr. Snyder said in a statement.

He also added that the water will be safe to drink as long as a filter is in place. Nonetheless, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says bottled water is safest for children under age 6 and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder drinks some water as he testifies before a House Oversight and government Reform hearing on “Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan, Part III” on Capitol Hill in Washington March 17, 2016.Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

In April 2014, Flint shifted its water source from the Detroit municipal system to the Flint River, a cost-cutting move that resulted in corroded pipes causing lead poisoning and a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed at least nine people and sickened 78.

Meanwhile, a state water-quality official told the people of Flint that a chemical was not needed to prevent lead corrosion from pipes.

Data released in February shows that in January of 2015, the yearly water bill for a resident of Flint came to $864.32, roughly $500 more than what the average U.S. household paid for water from other public utilities, according to Food & Water Watch.

Source: The New York Times