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Op-Ed | Amnesty for unpaid water bills

May. 9, 2023 By Mayor Eric Adams

Water is a precious resource, and New York City has some of the best municipal drinking water on the planet.  Our water comes from reservoirs in the Catskills and beyond, and travels hundreds of miles to reach our taps.  New Yorkers pay just one cent per gallon for our exceptional drinking water.  And we use that money to maintain and improve the critical infrastructure that keeps our water flowing and keeps New Yorkers hydrated and healthy.

However, we know that some New Yorkers have trouble paying their water bills, so we are extending our Water Bill Amnesty program to May 31.  If you pay the principal of your water bill in FULL, all of the interest will be forgiven.  That is correct: you won’t have to pay any interest.  If you are not able to pay in full, we will help you set up a payment plan, and depending on the amount that is paid, a portion of the interest may be forgiven. 

You can find out more by calling (718) 595-7890 or you can visit the Department of Environmental Protection’s water amnesty website: nyc.gov/dep/amnesty.

We want to work with you.  We helped the residents of the Shorehaven affordable housing community in the Bronx save $400,000 on their unpaid water bills.  This will allow the community to invest in other important upgrades.

We are constantly looking for ways to make your life easier and more affordable, and the Water Bill Amnesty program is part of our working people’s agenda.  It was launched in January and has brought in $80 million from overdue accounts so far, and allowed New Yorkers to save more than $12 million in interest.

At the same time, we’re not going to look the other way while millionaires and billionaires who can afford to pay their water bills choose not to – and drive up your water rates as a result. Last week, five properties – all valued above $4 million, and all with unpaid water debt above $100,000 –  were informed that if they didn’t pay within two weeks, we’d shut off their water. And already, four have paid or entered into payment plans.

But we don’t want to shut off anyone’s water, so we encourage all New Yorkers with unpaid water bills to check in with the Department of Environmental Protection and find out what their options are.  By paying our water bills, we keep costs low and our wonderful water flowing for everyone.

Please take advantage of the extension of the Water Bill Amnesty and pay any unpaid bills.  Remember: you have until the end of this month, May 31st to sign up.

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