I don't know about Detroit, but in Miami at my house it would cover the $15/quarter I pay for about 17 years.
But, they are probably getting hit with late fees/turn-it-off fees/turn-it-on fees that are 50 or 100 bucks (or more) a pop.
So, I'd guess that the average thousand that the average deadbeat owes is probably 10% water and 90% fees.
After all, this is Detroit, home of government-bankrupting union hacks. Some grossly overpaid water department or contractor slob has to physically open or close the valve. Those valves on single family homes are typically a few inches below ground level in an enclosure covered by a metal plate less than a foot square.
This part was funny:
"When the coast is clear, and the trucks from the contractor shutting off water for the city of Detroit have rolled away, the men with water keys come.
They offer residents whose supply has just been shut off a tempting deal. For $20, they will use their tools to turn the water main back on immediately, and illegally"
LOL. "Water keys."
Which is a couple of pieces of rebar welded into a "T" shape with an inverted steel "U" welded to the bottom of the "T" which fits over the 1/2" wide valve lever that needs to be turned 90 degrees to turn the water back on. Notice the article doesn't describe what a magical "water key" actually is.
Of course, none of these people know where their main water valve is or they could do it themselves if they had a tool worth about 2 bucks.
Then again, these are the same people who think that food originates in and comes from grocery stores, so maybe they couldn't.