Legally, the city can turn off your water if you fail to pay for more than 52 days and right now, the city says they have more than 20,000 accounts that are over 200 days past due. The total amount to the city exceeds $13 million. That includes commercial and residential, as well as multi-family customers.
The city says it is not going to wait for that money anymore. They say they are going to be quite aggressive starting today in turning off your water if you don't pay.
"Today, we are announcing a stepped up enforcement effort to get people to pay their water bills and the method we use is if you don't pay, you get your water turned off," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. "It's not that we haven't been using water cut-offs, but we are about to ramp up the effort."
The city handed out a list of the top 20 customers who are delinquent on their accounts. One customer topped the list, owing $198,451.
The city says it has assistance programs for people who can't afford to pay their bills. There is a water fund available for those individuals. The city says they are willing to work with those people but not with others who have blatantly disregarded their water bills for more than 200 days.
The city says you can call the main Customer Service Number at 713-371-1400 for information related to your water bil, or visit HoustonWaterBills.org. The hotline if service has been cut is 713-371-1110.