This is what the poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, looks like

In the city of Flint, Michigan, water runs an ominous brown colour as the city suffers through a water crisis.

Residents are barred from drinking - or even cooking - with the water, because it contains poisonously high levels of lead.

A photo by photojournalist Jake May from The Flint Journal, taken during a protest in front of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's office on Thursday and later shared on Reddit, shows the dark colour of the water.

Other pictures of the colour of the water have been shared on social media.

Locals are forced to fetch bottled water from wherever they can find it. 

On Thursday, around 200 people called for the resignation of governor Rick Snyder outside Flint City Hall, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The city's drinking water became contaminated it switched from water coming from Detroit to its own river in April 2014, because Detroit water had been too expensive.

However, nothing was done to address the corrosive properties of Flint River water, which began scouring the city's mostly lead-based network of service pipes, exposing the city to lead poisoning.

A year and a half later, researchers found the proportion of children with above-average lead levels in their blood had doubled, according to the Washington Post

The city has now been reconnected to the Detroit supply supply, but it may be another year before the water is safe to drink again.

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