A policy that has shut off water service at more than 100,000 homes in Detroit since 2014 is coming to an end, according to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. On Tuesday, city officials announced a plan to extend the city’s moratorium on shut-offs through 2022, with a complete end to the austerity measure to follow.
“We have chosen to ensure that residential households that do not have the ability to pay have the resources for help and maintain service through at least 2022 while we work on permanent water affordability solutions at the state and federal levels.” — Gary Brown, DWSD Director
“My goal now is to stop water shutoffs to low-income Detroiters once and for all,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. “We have secured the funding necessary to continue this effort through 2022 and we are building a coalition to make this permanent.”
Detroit had suspended its shutoff policy at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced a COVID-19 water restart plan aimed at restoring service to 1,300 occupied homes by offering plumbing repairs and water payment assistance. The utility says it expects to spend $22 million by the end of 2020 on the effort, with $15 million going towards bull credits to about 50,000 households. The city received additional funding through the CARES Act and Michigan Senate Bill 690.
“The water shutoff moratoriums issued by health departments ends in 23 days,” said DWSD Director Gary Brown in a statement. “We have chosen to ensure that residential households that do not have the ability to pay have the resources for help and maintain service through at least 2022 while we work on permanent water affordability solutions at the state and federal levels. The infrastructure is in place through DWSD and our community partners to continue to provide compassionate and effective customer affordability programs to financially insecure Detroit households, now and through the implementation of long-term solutions.”
DWSD has 227,000 active residential accounts.
This is a developing story.