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Mayor Whitmire Takes Action on Houston’s Water Bill Crisis

Significant developments are underway to address the ongoing water bill issues plaguing residents of Houston.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor John Whitmire, who was recently elected, discussed his plans to alleviate the burden on residents facing unexplained and excessively high water bills.

Whitmore acknowledged the concerns voiced by two Houstonians during the council meeting and emphasized his determination to find a solution. “We will get there even if I have to replace the entire Public Works,” Whitmire responded.

While originally planning to unveil his high water bill relief plan this week, Whitmire decided to delay its announcement. He expressed dissatisfaction with the plan presented by Houston Public Works, citing gaps and stating that it is not up to standard. “I did not like the plan that was presented to me yesterday because it had some gaps. It is still not where it needs to be,” Whitmire remarked.

Despite not disclosing the full details of the plan, Whitmire revealed some aspects that water customers can anticipate. He mentioned that there are approximately 100,000 broken remote read water sensors throughout the city, leading to inaccurate billing. The goal is to replace these sensors within the next nine months, significantly earlier than the previously planned five-year timeframe.

“Our goal is fair and truthful billing,” Whitmire emphasized, adding that customers who receive high water bills should calculate their correct billing cost by averaging their three lowest water bills from 2023.

In December, former Mayor Sylvester Turner implemented changes to several ordinances related to water bills, including allowing customers to apply for a maximum of two leak adjustments per year and providing 50% credit on excess water usage on both water and wastewater charges.

Houston Public Works has applied $6.3 million in credits to water bills in dispute since the implementation of these ordinance changes in December 2023. The department continues to collaborate with Mayor Whitmire on his plan to ensure reliable water bills for residents.

As the city works towards resolving the water bill issues, updates will be provided as soon as they become available.