Confusion over post-moratorium water shutoffs

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit's water moratorium is now over, as the city now turns water on or off based on whether homeowners paid their water bills. But after following crews for a day, it seems figuring out who actually paid their bills is becoming a confusing endeavor.

It’s his only job for now--fixing brakes under the sweltering sun. But the man who calls himself ‘Country’ has been a world away from a cool refreshing glass of--

“Cold water!" said Country, "Yes sir!”

Country owes the city about $500, and his water’s been shut off for a month. But the man on the brakes will soon be on the fast track to running water at home. He attended this week’s water fair, paid about $50 up front, and agreed on payment plan. Days later, Chester Clemons paid him a visit to turn his water back on.

And as the turn of the water key paves the way to quenching the city’s thirst, Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department is finding out some homeowners aren’t as thirsty as they thought.

“Our records show that we turned off [homes], but in some way or some fashion, it has been turned on.” said Clemons, who says it's more than likely the work of illegal water hookups.

“Sometimes you have to rob Peter to pay Paul," said Country, who paid his bill, but understands the struggle, "So you think about it. Living in certain situations, they don’t want to hire you, they don’t want to give you no jobs, you’ve got to do something.”

But Clemons tells us of the 12 homes he tried to turn back on by midday, 8 were already turned on. It’s a confusing situation and a waste of time for crews trying to help legitimate customers like Country, who’s now paying for that tall glass of water.

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