Detroit halts water shutoffs for holiday heat wave

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It is too hot to shut off people's water - that's the decision made by the city of Detroit.

But it is only temporary and soon Detroiters will be paying even more for water. Detroiters weighed down by water woes are finally getting some air - if only for a moment.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is putting its shutoffs on hold, thanks in part to the holiday falling on a Wednesday and the unbearably hot weather.

"With the heat that's being sustained for the rest of the week, we want to make sure that we're being compassionate and we're not cutting off water to people that may not have air conditioning," said Gary Brown of DWSD. "And so we're going to stop doing shutoffs until the weather moderates."

Despite DWSD's moratorium of sorts, there are still more than a thousand customers living without water because they did not keep up with their bills.

Another 900 residences received warning notices over the weekend.

Hydrate Detroit has been keeping them afloat since April, delivering water to those without. FOX 2 met with Meeko Williams as they made a delivery on Detroit's west side.

"My appeal to the city is to stop shutting off water period," said Williams. "I don't want to fight with the water department, the city of Detroit. We're trying to find a positive solution to this outcome and make sure affordability is the first and foremost issue."

DWSD says there's a few million dollars set aside to help low-income residents pay water bills and fix minor plumbing issues. It is money much needed.

The water department's revamped drainage fee went into effect Sunday as did a 4 percent water rate increase.

"Our costs are going up," Brown said. "Our employees have contracts that have increases, our pensions have increases that we have to pay, and our materials go up so we're going up with the rate of inflation." 

Water Assistance Fair at DABO is July 25 at 12048 Grand River.

Hydrate Detroit: 313-279-0608