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Group Calls On Detroit To Permanently Extend Moratorium On Water Shutoffs

DETROIT (WWJ) - As Detroit water service shutoffs officially resumed Tuesday, one local organization is calling for the moratorium to be extended a second time — this time, permanently.

The city had given residents who were late on their water bills 15 days — until 6 p.m. Monday —  to pay up; and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department was expected to send crews out Tuesday to turn off service to customers who owe money and haven't made payment arrangements.

DeMeeko Williams with the Detroit Water Brigade says he thanks the city for hosting a water fair over this past weekend to help people make payment arrangements, but as for the shutoffs resuming:

"I am requesting that the shutoffs stop permanently," Williams told WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas. "Today it is 90 degrees in the city of Detroit. Elderly people need water, children need water to hydrate themselves — to stay cool."

The city has said it is working with people on their past due water bills. But some are saying that the payment plans are not enough.

"I think that the mayor and the water department should stop the shutoffs permanently and give people more chances to make, you know, an effort to come in and talk about what's going on, and to offer them  payment plans that are affordable," Williams said.

The city says it is working with people on their past due water bills. But some are saying that the payment plans are not enough.

"Most people told me that they cannot afford the 10 percent," Williams said. "...Shutoffs are doing nothing more than hurting people."

Detroit resident Jamica Willis has been trying to avoid having her water shut off a second time.

"Last month-and-a-half it did get shut off, and I came down here and gave them $500," Willis said. "So, I'm trying to figure out a month-and-a-half later why I'm back on shutoff notice...Now I just got a bill $1,059, so, I'm back down here...and I probably have to come up with another couple of hundred dollars."

The city says 1,140 customers signed payment agreements at a fair last Saturday at Cobo Center, while others paid in full; and 25,000 customers were enrolled in water payment plans as of Monday — up from 17,000 a month earlier.

The city stepped up shutoffs in March of those 60 days behind or owing more than $150. About 15,000 customers had service shut off in April-June.

On Tuesday, the DWSD announced a new phone payment option for residents. DWSD customers can call 313-267-8000 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. to make a payment or work out payment arrangements.

Customers may also make payments online at or through the Detroit Delivers mobile app, which links to the water department payment website.

If you're a Detroit water customer, CLICK HERE for more information.


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