The Great Lakes Water Authority and its largest wholesale customer, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, presently are accountable only to a federal judge. But they need to be fully accountable to their ratepayers and the general public.
First, the GLWA and DWSD boards should be taking steps to facilitate the transition from disclosure of records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to Open Government or Open Data, whereby the government and parties acting on its behalf make public information (with very few exceptions) available proactively and put that information within reach of the public (online), without barriers for its reuse and consumption.
Second, the boards’ various constituencies (the other wholesale customer groups, for example) ought to be challenging the U.S. District Court gag order that prevents public disclosure of ongoing negotiations between GLWA and DWSD and, generally, any information even remotely related to those negotiations.
Last but certainly not least, citizens, the media, communities and their wholesale organizations should demand that the Michigan Legislature provide for the democratic election of GLWA board members.
Neither social media nor traditional mass media have done much to engage the public in these issues. One can only wonder why.