The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announces the Board of Water Commissioners this afternoon approved the Detroit water and sewer rates for Fiscal Year 2018 at a combined 1.7 percent for residential customers. A family of three with average water usage will pay $1.18 more beginning in August. The rates will be effective July 1 and reflecting on customers’ bills starting in August.
The board approved a 1 percent increase for the water rate for all customers, a 3 percent increase for sewage and a 1 percent increase in the drainage charge for customers who have not yet transitioned to the impervious acreage rate. The drainage charge per impervious acre decreased to $661 from $750 per acre.
DWSD points to several business practice improvements since the bifurcation with the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), which now operates the regional system, and the appointment of new department leadership. The following actions contribute to the historically low rate increase:
Improved business practices in customer service, including new customer service training, aggressive commercial collections, customer outreach, and attaching names to accounts rather than by parcel, led to an increase in the bill collection rate from 70 percent to 91 percent.
The launch of WRAP, the Water Residential Assistance Program, which enables enrolled residential households to maintain water service while also paying their reduced monthly bill.
Installation of technology to increase access for customers to pay and conduct business with DWSD at their convenience, which includes 37 payment kiosks and QLESS online appointment scheduling.
Enhanced outreach efforts in the neighborhoods to inform customers of assistance programs.
Reduction of the DWSD debt that is now only tied to the water and sewer assets within the city of Detroit.
A wholesale rate from the GLWA less than four percent.
The pending launch of a fraud unit this summer to investigate and pursue prosecution of water theft.
“Our primary objective coming into DWSD after the bifurcation with the GLWA was to reduce the burden on our customers who have seen the water and sewer rates increase more than 400 percent in 20 years,” said Gary Brown, DWSD director. “That level of increase is unacceptable. While it will be impossible to claw-back to lower rates, we have made organizational changes to decrease the need for large rate increases. Our goal the last two years was to have our rate increases be close to or below three percent. This was only possible because of the innovation and hard work of our employees during the past two years.”
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) serves more than 230,000 accounts that includes a residential population of nearly 700,000. DWSD’s water network consists of more than 2,700 miles of water main and nearly 3,000 miles of sewer collection piping within the city of Detroit. To learn more about DWSD or to request water services, make payments, or report water problems, call DWSD Customer Care at 313-267-8000 or contact us at http://www.detroitmi.gov/dwsd.
The Detroit water and sewer rate card will be posted at http://www.detroitmi.gov/dwsd by June 30.