January 1, 2016 marked the launch of a regional water authority in Southeast Michigan. The City of Detroit, the counties of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne, and the State of Michigan have officially united to form the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). The new Authority is yet one more piece of the Grand Bargain to not only position an emerging Detroit for long term success but to give suburban water and sewer customers a powerful voice in the management and direction of one of largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation.
GLWA begins management and control of regional water and wastewater services, while Detroit, like suburban communities throughout the region, will retain control of water and sewer services within the City limits. The GLWA has signed a 40 year lease with Detroit for $50 million a year. Detroit will use these funds to overhaul its aging infrastructure. The lease also provides for a $4.5 million Water Residential Assistance Program to help low-income customers of GLWA customer communities pay their water and sewer bills.
The GLWA is comprised of six board members: two from the City of Detroit, and one each from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, plus one representing the State of Michigan.