Detroit Evening Report: Whitmer announces new program to help Highland Park residents pay water bills

Listen to the latest episode of the “Detroit Evening Report” podcast.

The Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration helped broker a tentative deal between the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) and Highland Park last month to end a 10-year dispute over unpaid water bills.

The Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration helped broker a tentative deal between the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) and Highland Park last month to end a 10-year dispute over unpaid water bills.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced a new residential assistance program for Highland Park residents who need help to pay water bills.

Subscribe to the Detroit Evening Report on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The partnership with The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) is a part of a tentative agreement brokered by the state between the city and the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) last month, which ended a decade-long dispute.

“To help ensure Highland Park residents can access safe, affordable drinking water, I am proud to announce a partnership with THAW to help lower bills on our path to implementing the historic settlement agreement we brokered last month,” said Gov. Whitmer in a statement. “I’m thankful to THAW for raising its hand to help and to GLWA and Highland Park for working together in good faith on a deal that will ensure residents can access water, as the state helps the city with long overdue infrastructure upgrades.

“Since I took office, we’ve made record investments in water infrastructure and affordability,” she said. “I’ll continue to work with anyone to keep rates affordable, and most importantly, keep safe water flowing to every home.”

The settlement was unanimously approved by the city council, GLWA’s board, and the State of Michigan.

Once it is finalized, ongoing lawsuits will be dismissed, including a nearly $24 million judgment against Highland Park.  GLWA plans to provide $20 million in “bad debt recovery credits” to dozens of metro Detroit municipalities that paid the city’s water and sewage bills for years.

The State of Michigan has committed to fund installation of meters, water main and service line replacements and to release a $25 million infrastructure grant that was previously appropriated. The state will also give the water authority a $5 million grant for drinking water infrastructure.    

Other headlines for Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023:

  • Ford Motor Co. is resuming construction on a Michigan electric vehicle battery plant that was postponed during the United Auto Workers strike, though the company said it would scale back the factory size —cutting the number of planned jobs by about one third from 2,500 to 1,700 — due to slowing electric vehicle sales growth.
  • The nonprofit Focus: HOPE is searching for volunteers to help pre-selected seniors for Holiday Meal Delivery from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.
  • A popular four-part workshop centered around identity, self-awareness and emotional expression for kids and their parents begins Saturday, Nov. 25, from Michigan’s Stay Well program.
  • The Detroit Lions are coming off of a comeback win last Sunday, and are headed into the traditional Thanksgiving day game against the Green Bay Packers at 12:30 p.m.
  • The Detroit Pistons lost to the Denver Nuggets last night 103-106. Detroit is back on the court Friday during an in-season tournament against the Indiana Pacers in Indiana.
  • The Detroit Red Wings and the New Jersey Devils face off in Eastern Conference action tomorrow night at Little Caesars Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Do you have a community story we should tell? Let us know in an email at

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.