DETROIT -

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending water shutoffs for 15 days to continue public efforts encouraging delinquent account holders to get up-to-date.

Darryl Latimer, the deputy director of the water department, said in bankruptcy court Monday that the 15-day moratorium will give the department time to deal with the bad publicity created by the delinquency crackdown. The department, Latimer said, will also work with local clergy and the Department of Neighborhoods to identify and assist hardship cases.

Latimer said the department has a citywide, aggressive plan to inform residents about shutoffs. He told U.S Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes they will use the next two weeks to word to get out.

He also said the city has seen a significant increase in 60-days past due accounts, citing declining employment, local incomes 15 percent below the national average, and a lack of "rigor" in collections.

Rhodes thanked Latimer for the "thought and effort into your presentation and plan."

Last week, Rhodes criticized the implementation of the water department's collection and shutoff plan.

Detroit Water and Sewerage has an 83 percent collection rate, which has led to tens of millions in annual bad debt for the department.

Detroit water shutoffs suspended: what happens next?

TONIGHT, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. Devin: WE'LL HAVE IT FOR YOU FOR LOCAL 4 NEWS AT 11:00. Devin: A NEW TWIST IN DETROIT'S WATER SHUTOFF SHOWDOWN. THE WATER IS STILL FLOWING FOR RESIDENTS WHO HAVEN'T PAID UP. THE SHUTOFFS ARE SUSPENDED FOR 15 DAYS. WHILE THAT'S A RELIEF FOR SOME, IT'S NOT A RESOLUTION. LET'S GO TO HANK WINCHESTER. HE JOINS US LIVE. Hank: THAT'S THE BIG QUESTION, WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER THE THREE WEEKS ONCE WE GET INTO EARLY AUGUST. THE WATER DEPARTMENT SAYING THEY'RE TAKING A STEP BACK AND WANT TO WORK WITH PEOPLE AND LET THEM KNOW WHAT FINANCIAL OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP KEEP THE WATER ON TO THOSE WHO TRY TO MAKE AN ATTEMPT TO PAY THE BILL. WATER SHUTOFF SUSPENDED, JUST DAYS AFTER A LARGE PROTEST AND QUESTIONS FROM A FEDERAL JUDGE REGARDING ACTION TAKEN BY THE WATER DEPARTMENT, THE SHUTOFFS ARE ON HOLD. THERE WAS A LODGE PROTEST, THIS WAS A TOPIC IN FEDERAL COURT. THERE WILL BE PEOPLE WHO SAY THE WATER DEPARTMENT JUST FELT TOO MUCH PRESSURE AND THEY'RE STOPPING IT. NO, I MEAN, IT ISN'T ABOUT PRESSURE, IT'S MORE ABOUT IF WE HAVE THE LARGE NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS THAT ARE IN NEED, THAT'S OUR CONCERN. OUR CONCERN IS OUR CUSTOMERS, BUT IT'S NOT ABOUT PRESSURE. Hank: THE NEXT 15 DAYS, HE HAD ANOTHER CHANCE TO WORK WITH THOSE WITH A DESPERATE FINANCIAL NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY KNOW RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP COVER THE COST. IF YOU NEED A SINCE COME IN. WE'LL GO BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL. Hank: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? THE EMERGENCY MANAGER THINKS IT'S IMPORTANT THEY CONTINUE AND THE DEPARTMENT COLLECT THE MONEY. I KNOW THE MAYOR HAS CONCERNED RELATIVE TO OUR CUSTOMERS HAVING AFFORDABILITY ISSUES. AND HE MAY WANT TO ADDRESS THAT, BUT IT'S HARD TO TELL. Hank: SO UNCLEAR HOW THIS WILL SHAKE OUT LATER IN THE YEAR ONCE KEVYN ORR MOVES ON AND MIKE DUGGAN IS MAKING MOST OF THE DECISIONS. GOOD LATIMER HAS HIS CHOICE, THE SHUTOFFS WILL CONTINUE. LIVE DOWNTOWN, HANK WINCHESTER, BACK TO YOU. Carmen: IT RAISES THE QUESTION, THAT 18,000 SHUTOFFS HAVE TAKEN PLACE. WILL THEY BE RESTORED WITH THE MORATORIUM IN PLACE? Hank: THE ONLY WAY THEY'LL BE RESTORED IS IF THEY'RE MAKING AN ATTEMPT TO PAY THE BALANCE. OTHERWISE, THE WATER DEPARTMENT IS NOT GOING TO TURN THE WATER BACK ON TO THOSE CUSTOMERS AND WON'T SHOULD ANYBODY ELSE OFF IN THE NEXT 15 DAYS, BUT ONLY IN THE NEXT 15 DAYS. Carmen: SO IT'S IMPORTANT TO CALL IF YOU THINK YOU CAN HAVE YOUR WATER RESTORED. Hank: ABSOLUTELY, CARMEN. AND IF YOU'RE ABLE TO WORK OUT ANY SORT OF A DEAL, THEY