DISTRICT OVERVIEW: Questions & Answers

  • What is the difference between Wholesale and Retail?

    The District sells large amounts of water to other retail agencies for delivery to their own customers. San Juan keeps a separate accounting of all revenue and expenses for each division so that our Retail customers only pay for the cost to provide service to our Retail service area. Our Wholesale division sells water to the following agencies:

    San Juan Water District’s Retail Division
    Citrus Heights Water District
    Fair Oaks Water District
    Orange Vale Water Company
    City of Folsom (north of the American River)
    Sacramento Suburban Water District (periodically)

FOLSOM LAKE WATER RELEASES: Questions & Answers

  • How are Folsom Lake levels determined? What agency determines them?

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operates Folsom Reservoir and water releases are coordinated with other large reservoirs in California. While Northern California reservoirs are at or above normal conditions for this time of year in 2016, other reservoirs in the southern part of the state remain below average.

  • Why were there flood control releases from Folsom Lake? What is the status of the State Board water conservation mandate?

    In February 2016, Folsom Lake reached the level where flood control releases are mandated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Under current flood rules, Folsom Lake is not allowed to hold more than a certain amount of water based on the month of the year. San Juan believes it is important for the Corps to determine Folsom Lake flood control needs based on the weather forecast, basin wetness and snow amounts (known as "forecast-based operations").

    On June 1, 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board lifted its mandatory water conservation requirements thanks to improved rain and snowfall in Northern California and strong conservation statewide. Although we are no longer required to meet a water conservation standard, we do encourage all customers to follow our Stage 2 Water Alert requirements.

  • Why did San Juan put a drought surcharge into effect and what is the status?

    San Juan initiated a drought surcharge in April 2015 to cover a portion of the lost revenue due to decreased water sales associated with the state's conservation mandates. On March 23, 2016, the San Juan Board of Directors approved moving from a Stage 4 Water Crisis Conservation level back to a Stage 2 Water Alert Conservation level with a voluntary 10 percent use reduction. By moving to Stage 2 from Stage 4, the 10 percent drought surcharge was removed April 1, 2016.

WATER SUPPLY: Questions & Answers

  • Does San Juan Water District have adequate water supplies even in drought conditions?

    San Juan Water District Wholesale has the oldest water rights on the north fork of the American River, dating back to 1853. These are called senior water rights under California water rights law. San Juan's water is the last to be diverted, or used; water agencies with junior water rights are required to have theirs cut back before San Juan's in times of drought.

    San Juan Wholesale also has a supply contract with Placer County Water Agency. In 2015, San Juan Water District and Sacramento Suburban Water District completed a pipeline project that enables the transfer of groundwater from Sacramento Suburban to San Juan Water District and the transfer of surface water from San Juan Water District to Sacramento Suburban. Even in extreme drought conditions with severe water supply limitations, San Juan can supply its customers with ample water supply.

  • What are some past actions San Juan Wholesale and our region made to plan for drought conditions?

    San Juan Retail completed construction on two key water supply projects: The Barton Road Intertie connecting Placer County Water Agency to San Juan Water District's distribution system and the Antelope Booster Pump-Back project that enables the transfer of groundwater from Sacramento Suburban to San Juan. These two projects can provide up to 16 million gallons of additional water supply per day to increase reliability for San Juan Retail customers. The projects were completed in partnership with other local water agencies. Grant funds were used to help offset the costs to the agencies.

  • If we don’t use our water, is it stored for use next year?

    No. Any water not used by our customers cannot be stored in Folsom Lake under San Juan's settlement contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. That water becomes the property of Reclamation if San Juan is unable to use it. Reclamation can use this water without compensation to San Juan to meet environmental needs in the Delta and on the Sacramento River.

  • If we cannot use the water supplies, can we benefit by selling them to someone else?

    Legally, yes. This is called a water transfer. San Juan has been working with state and federal agencies to establish a process that would allow a water transfer. Transfers happen often throughout the state but transfers of conserved water have not, as there is not a defined method to implement a conserved water transfer. The process has been difficult but San Juan will continue to try as the revenue generated from the sale of water will offset ratepayer costs for conservation.

WATER EFFICIENCY: Questions & Answers

  • Should I use more water now so I can meet the state mandate to reduce my water use by 20% by the year 2020?

    Increasing your water usage now will not help the District meet the state mandate to reduce water use by 20% by 2020. The baseline water use has already been determined using a baseline prior to 2009. State law requires the District to meet a 10% interim reduction requirement in 2015 and a 20% reduction by 2020 As always, we encourage customers to use water efficiently and not waste it. Here are tips on how to increase your water efficiency.

  • Why did the state of California require us to conserve if we had enough water?

    The governor issued a declaration in April 2015 that all water agencies and customers in California needed to reduce water use by 25 percent compared to 2013 use. Groundwater levels were dropping to dangerously low levels in some parts of California and surface water reservoirs were well below average. Some water agencies actually needed to save less than 25 percent and some more than that according to the State Water Resources Control Board. The State Board mandated conservation requirements for each water supplier in California based on their average water use per person. San Juan Retail water use per person is amongst the highest in the state, so we were assigned a mandatory 36 percent reduction between June 2015 and February 2016 compared to 2013. In November 2015, the Governor extended the statewide mandate through October 2016 should dry conditions persist through January. In February 2016, the State Board made some adjustments to its conservation mandates. San Juan was assigned a new reduction requirement of 33 percent, three percent less than the previous year's mandate.

    On June 1, 2016, the state lifted its mandatory water conservation requirements thanks to improved rain and snowfall in Northern California and strong conservation statewide. Although we are no longer required to meet a water conservation standard, we do encourage all customers to follow our Stage 2 Water Alert requirements. Please continue to use water efficiently and make water conservation a way of life.

  • What did the State Water Resources Control Board do to the water agencies that did not save as much water as required?

    When mandated conservation requirements were in place, the State Board fined agencies that made minimal effort to conserve and required reduction plans from other agencies that didn't meet their target.

  • What did San Juan do to reduce the mandatory conservation requirements in April 2016?

    San Juan collaborated with other agencies and met with State Board members to discuss both the availability of adequate water supply concerning our senior water rights and access to a healthy groundwater supply.

    San Juan staff and Board Members attended State Board meetings and presented our opposition to the conservation requirements based on our senior water rights and sustainable groundwater availability. State and federal legislatures spoke out in opposition to such a sizeable mandatory requirement. In May, the State Board voted to replace statewide mandated conservation with localized conservation efforts determined by agencies.

BOARD MEMBER COMPENSATION: Questions & Answers

  • What is board member compensation and how does it compare to other agencies?

    Board members are elected by a vote of the people. They are compensated with a flat per-meeting stipend set according to state law for the time they spend on San Juan business. This is common practice for special districts throughout the State of California.

    • Carmichael Water District – $144.70 per meeting, no benefits
    • Citrus Heights Water District – $145 per day up to 10 per month, no benefits
    • Del Paso Manor – $200 per meeting up to 10 per month, $50/month contribution to health benefits
    • El Dorado Irrigation District - $1,250 flat monthly, full healthcare insurance and 89.45% of dependent premium paid, $20,000 life insurance
    • Fair Oaks Water District - $100 per meeting, up to $1,200 per month (limited to one paid meeting per day), no benefits
    • Placer County Water Agency - $950 flat monthly, full dental and vision, $24,000 life insurance
    • Rio Linda Water District - $100 per day up to 6 per month, no benefits
    • Sacramento Suburban Water District - $100 per day up to 10 per month, no benefits
    • San Juan Water District - $125 per meeting, up to 10 meetings per month, no benefits. In 2013 and 2014, San Juan Board members attended 6.6 meetings each per month for an average per-member stipend of $825 per month; this cost is shared between San Juan Wholesale and San Juan Retail

WATER RATES: Questions & Answers

  • How are the rates calculated?

    The water rates include a daily fixed charge and a water usage charge. The daily fixed charge is based on the size of each customer’s water meter and is intended to recover a proportionate share of the fixed costs associated with operating and maintaining the system. The usage charge is based on a uniform water usage rate multiplied by each customer’s water usage. Usage charge revenue is intended to cover variable costs such as water supply, treatment, and pumping costs.

    The District is legally prohibited from charging more than the actual cost of providing water service (which includes covering all fixed costs and accrual of a prudent reserve for future replacements, upgrades and repairs) to our customers.

  • How do San Juan Retail rates compare with other agencies?

    Please click here to see the current rates for San Juan Retail and other comparable agencies in the region. To put the rates in context, click here to see a comparison of single family water bills with neighboring communities.

  • San Juan Retail has raised its rates over the last few years. Why does the District still need more money?

    All water agencies and city water utilities, including San Juan Retail, receive the majority of their income from water sales and property-related fees, please click here to see revenue sources for the San Juan Water District. Because of drought-related water conservation and actions by our Board to limit water rate increases, San Juan’s income fell dramatically during the drought, to levels insufficient to fully fund operations and ensure adequate funding for pipeline and facility repairs and replacements.

    San Juan’s experience is not unique. Other water agencies in the Sacramento region and throughout the state are experiencing similar revenue shortfalls. San Juan Retail’s rate increases are designed to provide the revenue necessary to operate your water supply system with the lowest possible impact on your budgets.

    There are many other reasons why San Juan’s Retail water rates have increased over the years, including:

    • The cost for buying and treating water in San Juan’s Wholesale operations has risen over time (due in part to infrastructure repair and replacement at Folsom reservoir)
    • Keeping up with changes in federal and state regulatory requirements that ensure your water is safe
    • Increased healthcare costs and other employee benefits as well as cost of living salary adjustments for the 27.9 San Juan Retail staff members
    • Repayment of $14 million in funds that have been borrowed to fund infrastructure improvements
    • Cost increases to maintain an aging system (most of San Juan’s facilities are over 50 years old)
    To avoid rate increases after the 2008 recession, San Juan delayed maintaining and replacing pipelines, pumping and storage facilities, service vehicles and other equipment and drew upon financial reserves to pay for operations. These reserves have almost been depleted, and additional revenue is needed to be able to maintain operations and a small reserve in case of future economic downturns.

    This has been a short-term solution, and creates significant risk if we continue to delay repairing and replacing your water system infrastructure. A large part of the proposed rate increases include funding to maintain this infrastructure. A good example of these types of projects is Hinkle Reservoir, a 62 million gallon covered reservoir that stores the water treated at our treatment plant. The lining and cover for Hinkle Reservoir, were constructed in 1981 and had an estimated life of 20 years. Through good maintenance and a dash of good luck, the cover and liner have far outlasted their expected life. Recent stress tests show that the cover and lining are now in need in replacement, at an estimated cost of $23.8 million. While the District does have a reserve fund dedicated to this project, because rates have been held so low, for so long, the balance in the reserve isn’t close to covering the cost and the District will have to incur debt to finance the project.

    While deferring projects and keeping rates low has short term benefits, in the long run they cost more money. What starts as a small maintenance item, if left unaddressed, can turn into a major rehabilitation project. Delaying rate increases, and not building adequate reserves leads to the need for debt to finance critical projects, such as the Hinkle Reservoir. Debt is expensive. San Juan’s Board of Directors wants to minimize debt for infrastructure maintenance and replacement projects for pipelines and facilities. They are committed to building and maintaining adequate reserve funds as part of best practices.

    Below is an overview of San Juan Retail’s rate increases during the last five years. Please click here for more information on the San Juan Retail rate history.
    • 2016 – 15% (drought surcharge removed April 1, 2016)
    • 2015 – 3% (and temporary drought surcharge of 10%)
    • 2014 – 2%
    • 2013 – 2%
    • 2012 – 0%
    Inflation is one driver of rate increases. See a ten year history of rate increases adjusted for inflation. The chart indicates that there were no rate increases in 4 of the last 10 years, and two of those 4 years were actually rate reductions, relative to inflation.

  • How do San Juan Wholesale water rates compare to other agencies?

    San Juan Wholesale water rates are some of the lowest in the State of California. Please see the graph for more information.

  • Why am I being penalized with rate increases for conserving water?

    It sure feels that way, doesn’t it? We agree and want to fix it. Here is the problem: most water agencies in the State of California set up their rates to encourage people to save water, meaning most of the rate was based upon how much water you use, the more you use, the more you pay. The problem with this model is that the largest part of our expenses are fixed, and don’t change based upon the amount of water we deliver. We must staff and operate our treatment plant 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, no matter how much water we deliver. Similarly, we must fix leaks, read meters and answer your calls. Conservation by our customers allows us to comply with state mandates, address droughts and saves customers money, but it reduces our ability to fund the operation of your water supply system. The result is that you feel punished by rate increases when you conserve, because your bills didn’t generate enough revenue to operate the system. The District’s past rate increases have not generated the same level of increased revenue as clearly shown in this chart.

    In the proposed rate structure, the District is keeping the water use portion of the rate constant over the five year period, and increasing the daily base rate so that a larger portion of your payment will not fluctuate with your use. This will decrease the need for future large rate increases when water use falls. This chart illustrates the disconnect between fixed costs and fixed rate revenue from your Daily Base Charge.

PROPOSED RATE INCREASE FOR 2017: Questions & Answers

  • What are the new rates being proposed?

    San Juan Retail mailed a Proposition 218 notice to all retail customers on February 6, 2017 proposing a five-year rate plan - see the Proposition 218 notice. Please Note: The notice was revised on March 23, 2017. The revisions included corrections to the Current and proposed retail water rates table. The typical bi-monthly residential bill did not correctly reflect the proper average usage. The bill example assumed 30 CCF used over a 60 day period instead of 30 CCF used over a 30 day period. The table has been revised to reflect this change to more accurately reflect an average users bi-monthly bill.

    If approved, the 2017 increase would become effective in May 2017 and each subsequent year the rates would become effective in January. The rate changes apply only to the daily base rate, the water use charge remains unchanged. The daily base rate is proposed to increase from $1.24 to $2.29 by January 2021. While this rate increase approximates an 85% increase, your actual water bill will NOT increase by this percentage change, since the daily base rate is only one component of your bill and the other component, the water usage charge, is NOT proposed to change. See the Annual Overall (effective) Water Rate Increases. See how an average water users bill has changed over time and is projected to change with the new rates.

DISTRICT REVENUE AND EXPENSES: Questions & Answers

  • Where does San Juan’s revenue come from and how is it spent?

    The San Juan Water District receives revenues from several sources, but the largest source is from rate revenues, as illustrated in this pie chart. For Fiscal year 2016/2017 84% of revenues are expected to come from your rate revenue. Some of the revenues, such as property taxes and connection fees are dedicated to the capital program, leaving your rate revenues as the primary source of funding for operating the system. This pie chart shows “Where Your Rate Money Goes”.

  • How have San Juan’s Retail Operating Expenses and Revenues changed in recent years and what has it done to control costs?

    Since fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the retail operations of the District have generated cumulative losses in excess of $3.5 million. Rate increases over that time period have stopped the bleeding, but have not been sufficient to generate net income needed to fund the capital program as shown in this chart.

    The San Juan Water District understands that everything we do is paid for with your hard earned dollars. The District has taken many actions to control operating costs, including:

    • Controlling pension costs by transferring the responsibility to employees to fund 100 percent of the employee’s share of pension costs.
    • Created a second tier of reduced pension benefits.
    • Created a second tier of reduced benefits for retiree health benefits.
    • Held staffing levels relatively constant. Much needed positions have been delayed for years. While there have been some shifts in staffing levels over the years, since the year 2000 the District has reduced the work force by two full time equivalent positions. District staff have identified some critical functions that are not being accomplished adequately, such as a dedicated employee to address labor laws and other human resources issues. These additional positions were proposed to be covered by the funding generated by the rate increase, but staff are developing a proposal for the Board to consider at the March 29 rate hearing that would not include these new positions.
    • Proposed pay down of the Unfunded Pension Liability. Due to larger than expected investment losses within the California Public Employee’s Pension System (CalPERS), the District has an unfunded pension liability, meaning the assets within the system are less than the liability (the amount needed to pay future pension benefits). CalPERS requires us to the pay the unfunded liability over a period of 20-30 years at an interest rate of 7-7.5%. Utilizing existing reserves to pay this off early saves the District millions of dollars in interest costs.
    • Refinancing existing debt. The District issued $30.5 million of debt in 2009 to fund various capital improvement projects. Interest rates have fallen since that time and the district is now working on refinancing this debt, which could save up to $500,000 per year in interest costs.

    These efforts, combined with a constant mindfulness to operate efficiently and frugally has resulted in operating expenses being relatively stable since at least Fiscal year 2013/2014. As illustrated in this chart, operating expenses increased by a modest 2% since fiscal year 2013/14, well below the CPI, the common measure of inflation.

  • How come recent rate increases haven’t solved the problem?

    Due to the historic drought, and the basic structure of the rates, operating revenues have not been sufficient to cover operating expenses, much less provide the revenue to fund the Capital Improvement Program, as illustrated by the green line, relative to the blue column, in this chart. In order to maintain the network of pipes and pumps that brings water to your home, the District needs to spend between four and five million dollars per year replacing pipes, pumps and other critical infrastructure and equipment. Here is the retail capital improvement plan. While certain revenues are designated to go towards the capital program, the operating revenue needs to generate revenues sufficient to cover operating expenses and transfer up to $2,000,000 per year into the Capital Fund. If this is not done, then the District will have to rely upon increased debt financing, which is expensive and ultimately leads to larger rate increases.

    One of the reasons operating revenues have not been sufficient to cover operating costs is the structure of the rate.In spite of recent and significant rate increases, revenues have not increased enough. This is because too much of the rate comes from the usage charge. No matter how large of a percentage increase we apply to the usage charge, if people don’t use the water, the revenue is not generated, as shown in this chart. Approximately 90% of the Districts operating costs are fixed, meaning that they don’t fluctuate with the amount of water sold. Yet, only 57% of our revenues come from the daily base charge (the fixed portion of the rate). This means that in drought years, the rates are not sufficient to cover operating expenses. The District has structured the proposed rate increase so that over the five year period, only the daily base rate will increase, the usage charge will remain the same. At the end of the five year period the rate structure should be corrected so that the fixed costs are covered by the fixed rate and the variable costs (the cost of treated water and the costs to pump that water to you) will be covered by the usage charge.

  • How much debt does San Juan have?

    San Juan’s Board of Directors works hard to fund future projects on a pay-as-you-go basis to avoid the interest costs associated with debt. However, when reserves are not adequate, San Juan is required to issue debt to fund capital projects. In order to build reserves sufficient to fund future projects, San Juan is proposing a new rate structure.

    As of June 30, 2016, the San Juan Water District had a debt balance of $39.9 million. The District’s debt is divided between wholesale and retail. Wholesale’s share of the debt is $25.6 million and Retail’s share is $14.3 million. Additionally, since Retail purchases water from Wholesale, Retail pays a portion of Wholesale’s total debt. The other agencies that purchase water from Wholesale, Citrus Heights Water District, Fair Oaks Water District, Orange Vale Water Company and the City of Folsom (north of the American River), also pay a portion of Wholesale’s debt.

  • What are SJWD retail reserve levels and are they adequate?

    Retail reserves were $11.3 million as of June 30, 2016. After factoring in the proposed operations and capital budget for FY 2016-17, the reserve balances will be approximately $5.9 million at June 30, 2017, as shown here. This includes both the operating and capital reserves. 

    Assuming the Retail operation has $500 million in capital facilities that have a maximum expected life of 100 years, a prudent budget for San Juan will include spending at least $5 million per year on capital projects to be able to avoid failures in the District’s infrastructure. ($500 million/100 years = $5 million per year).

    Without rate increases, the District is not able to adequately maintain its capital facilities. The amount of reserves expected to be available at the end of 2016 for capital projects such as pipeline and facilities projects will not be sufficient to fund our 10-year replacement program without incurring significant and unsustainable levels of debt. 

    A lack of adequate capital reserves costs customers more in the long run because more and more expensive, emergency repairs to the system are required and because necessary capital projects are pushed into the future when the costs of those projects will be more expensive. San Juan is working hard not to "kick the can any farther down the road."

DISTRICT STAFFING AND COMPENSATION: Questions & Answers

  • Why hasn’t San Juan reduced its staffing levels?

    Due to the size of the Retail service area as compared to the Retail staffing level, the District is adequately staffed. (See the comparisons listed under “How does the number of San Juan’s Retail employees compare to other retail agencies?”). However, with only 27.9 employees to serve more than 30,000 residents customers, there simply isn’t extra staff available to layoff without compromising our ability to ensure that when you turn your tap, clean water comes out, EVERY TIME. While the District hasn’t been able to reduce staffing levels, it has worked hard to hold staffing levels relatively constant. While there have been many shifts in staffing over the years, overall the District has gone from a high of 49 total wholesale and retail employees in the year 2000, to our current staffing level of 47 employees.

  • I’ve heard half the rate increases in the last five years was for salary increases. Is this true?

    No. Salaries represent approximately 17% of the District’s operating expenses. Approximately 20% of the rate increases over the past five years went towards cost of living adjustments to the 27.9 retail employees. See here for calculations.

  • How much of the proposed rate increases are going towards salary increases?

    Your water bills are proposed to increase by approximately 48% over the next five years. The financial plan assumes that 4.4% of that will go towards cost of living adjustments for the 27.9 retail employees.

  • What is the difference between what San Juan Retail and Wholesale staff members perform in their duties?

    San Juan employees’ salaries are paid by either the Wholesale or the Retail or a combination of both, depending on the position. This organization chart illustrates how much of each District position is paid for by retail revenues and how much by wholesale revenues.

    The Wholesale operation is responsible for water supply reliability, water rights and treatment of the water delivered to the Wholesale Customer Agencies. 

    The Retail operation delivers the water treated by the Wholesale operations to our customers. Both operations require compliance with the many state and federal regulations concerning water rights, treatment and operations. It also requires field staff who ensure the continuing operation, repair, safety and upgrading of San Juan’s Retail system. There also are expenses for administration such as customer service, billing and accounting. 

  • How many staff members does San Juan have and do they work for San Juan Retail or San Juan Wholesale?

    Good question. San Juan has 47 full time equivalent (FTE) employees; however, it is important to distinguish between San Juan’s Retail and Wholesale staff. San Juan Retail has 27.9 FTE and Wholesale has 19.1 FTE. The organization chart shows how department staff costs are allocated between wholesale and retail.

    The cost for some employees is currently shared between our Wholesale and Retail operations. For example, the General Manager’s salary is charged 90% to San Juan Wholesale and 10% to San Juan Retail. This means San Juan Retail has the benefit of a general manager level position for only 10% of the total salary.

    Additionally, the cost of the San Juan Wholesale’s highly trained water treatment staff is shared with all five San Juan customer agencies rather being paid by just San Juan Wholesale. This is an example of using regionalization to reduce costs to San Juan and each agency involved.

WATER QUALITY: Questions & Answers

  • Where does my water come from?

    Your water flows straight from the pristine American River watershed to Folsom Lake.

  • How is my water treated?

    Your water is treated at our treatment plant. We conduct several steps to filter and disinfect water of any impurities and/or contaminants. Once completed, it is stored in a 62-million gallon reservoir for distribution to Wholesale and Retail customers.

  • How do I know my water is safe to drink?

    San Juan water meets or exceeds all federal and state drinking water standards. We continuously monitor and test your water to ensure quality. Check out our Consumer Confidence Report to see for yourself.

  • How “hard” is my water?

    Our water is considered ultra soft. Due to San Juan's very low level of calcium, magnesium and manganese, you have no need for water softeners.

    If you have recently purchased a new appliance, check the manual for information about appropriate detergent levels relative to San Juan's hardness level, which is 1.37 grains per gallon (23.6 parts per million).

  • Should I buy bottled water?

    While you may choose to drink bottled water for personal reasons, you do not need to buy it for health reasons. Water quality standards for San Juan Water District and other California water providers are more stringent than bottled water standards. According to a study published by the Natural Resources Defense Council, bottled water is not necessarily cleaner or safer than tap water.

  • Why is my water sometimes different in the summer than in the winter?

    During the summer, your water pressure and taste may be slightly different than it is during the winter. Here is why:

    Pressure – During the morning hours, water use can be eight times higher in the summer.

    Taste – As Folsom Lakes water level drops and temperatures rise, your water may sometimes taste different. At all times, the water from San Juan Water District is safe to drink.

    Temperature – As Folsom Lake's water level drops and temperatures rise, your water may be warmer than usual. Keep a pitcher of tap water in the refrigerator for a cool, refreshing drink.

  • Is there fluoride in my water?

    No. Your water does not contain fluoride.

CUSTOMER SERVICE AND BILLING: Questions & Answers

  • How do I recognize San Juan field staff?

    San Juan Water District does not test water inside homes and staff members always identity themselves. For more information on how to spot staff click here.

  • How do I open a new account?

    To open a new account, please call customer service at (916) 791-0115. We’ll be happy to assist you! Be prepared to provide the name and contact information for your title company. If you are a tenant, your landlord or property manager must call to authorize us to send a copy of the bill to the service address.

  • How much does my water cost?

    Water is billed by hundred cubic foot (or CCF). Each CCF equals 748 gallons (about 20 bathtubs full of water). Every 748 gallons you use costs you .92¢. This equates to .00123¢ per gallon. In comparison, an average water bottle holds 16 ounces and can cost you $1.50 (.09¢ per ounce). Fill it with San Juan’s water and you would pay less than a penny (.0025¢) to fill the bottle. The District is not currently proposing to change the cost of water, just the daily base rate to maintain the system itself.

  • Why is my water bill higher this month?

    Water use fluctuates from season to season, which will cause the amount of your metered water bill to fluctuate. Outdoor landscaping and plants, for example, require a lot of water during the hot summer months, but need hardly any water during the winter.

    If you notice a change in your water use that you don’t think is associated with a season change, you may have a leak. Please call us at (916) 791-2663 if you need assistance in checking for or locating a leak.

  • How do I read my meter?

    Reading your meter can be a great way to check for water leaks, but be careful! Spiders and snakes love meter boxes, so be sure to exercise caution and wear gloves.

    Read your meter from left to right, taking note of how your meter measures water use. Water meters are read in units of 100 cubic feet (CCF). 1 unit = 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons.

    Record the number and check your meter again in 30 days. Subtract the first reading from the second to determine your water consumption for the past month. Multiply the recorded number by 748. This will tell you how many gallons you’ve used.

  • When is my meter read?

    Meters are read every other month about every 60 days. Weekends and holidays may result in a 57-day to 63-day service period.

  • How do I know if I have a leak on my property?

    To check for a leak, turn off all water-using devices inside and outside your home. Lift the small metal lid on top of your meter box. There is a leak-detecting dial on the face of your meter with a pointer inside it. If the pointer is moving, even slightly, and you do not have any water running, you could have a leak. For help locating a water leak, call us at (916) 791‐2663.

    We’ll check your indoor and outdoor plumbing for potential leaks and provide suggestions for fixing them. Plus, we’ll tell you about other water-saving techniques.

REBATES AND PROGRAMS: Questions & Answers

  • Do you offer payment options?

    We have a variety of payment options to make paying your bill as effortless as possible. Click here for more information or to sign-up.

  • Why can't you bill me on the 1st of the month?

    Customers are billed on the first Wednesday of every other month. It is not cost-effective to offer a choice of billing dates. We bill approximately half of our customers in alternating months.

  • What happens if I am late paying my bill?

    Bills are due within 21 days from the mail date. If we haven't received your payment by the 28th day, we mail a reminder notice. If payment has not been received by the 43rd day, a notice is delivered to your door with a $20 late charge applied to cover our cost of delivery. The late fee ensures that the costs are passed on only to those customers that receive a notice. If payment has still not been received by the 48th day, service is disconnected. All outstanding balances plus a $30 fee to reconnect service must be paid to restore service. This schedule works well with our billing software and staff schedules and meets legal requirements that apply to notice delivery and service disconnect.

  • I enrolled in your online bill presentment option but can't view my bill.

    You may not be able to use this online bill feature if you are using a Macintosh or other older system. If you have a slow Internet connection, your system may be timing out before your bill can be loaded. Lastly your internet browser or the browser plug-in (the third party application to allow the browser to view certain content) may not be compatible.

MORE DISTRICT INFORMATION AND CONTACT: Questions & Answers