Liquid News

Kiss Your Grass Good-Bye!

Beginning in July, your bills will be calculated using the updated IRWD Budget Based rate structure.

IRWD must meet a 16 percent reduction in potable water use by February 2016. In order to implement this mandate, all IRWD customers will be required to limit their outdoor water use.

Because of the Governor Jerry Brown’s mandate, IRWD will be reducing your outdoor water budgets. The outdoor water budgets will no longer be based on warm season turf.

Effective July 1, 2015, your outdoor water budget will be based on drought tolerant landscaping with drip or a similar high efficiency system. It will no longer be based on turf. This means that customers who have lawns must take steps to reduce outdoor water use or you will go over your monthly water budget and receive a higher bill.

How Your Water Bill is Calculated

IRWD uses a budget based rate structure that is based on the cost of service and has two basic components that make up your water bill: Cost of Water+ Service Charge.

The amount of water used inside and outside your home is calculated using cost of local and imported water.

The service charge is based on daily operation, maintenance and infrastructure costs.

Understanding Your budget

Every residence is given a water budget—think of it as a water budget—based on the number of people in the home and landscape area. A single family home bases the budget on 1,300 sq. ft. of landscape area and four residents. An attached home or condo bases the budget on 435 sq. ft. of landscape area and three residents. Apartment budgets are based on no landscape area and two people.

Your Monthly Indoor & Outdoor Water budgets

Your indoor budget plus your outdoor budget equals the total amount of water your residence is allowed to use monthly.

Indoor budget: No Changes for FY 2015/16. Your indoor water budget will continue to be based on the default number of residents in a home and the type of home. The indoor budget is currently 50 gallons per person per day.

Outdoor budget: Changes from turf to water-efficient landscaping. The new outdoor water budget will provide enough water for water-efficient landscaping rather than grass. Other factors also increase or decrease your monthly outdoor water budget, such as the weather. If you have a lawn, you will likely go over your budget and receive a higher water bill.

Variances from Standard Water budget

Need more water? IRWD offers increases to customers’ water budgets for the following reasons:

  • More people living in the home
  • Medical needs
  • Additional landscaped area
  • Livestock
  • Other special circumstances

To apply for a variance, visit and click on “Request a Variance” on the left-hand side.

Why Are My Rates Going Up?

In addition to the state mandate for water reduction, the main reasons for the rate changes are due to uncontrollable cost increases from:

  • Significantly higher operating costs (28 percent increase)
  • Higher electricity costs (5 percent increase)
  • Higher costs for imported water (2 percent increase)
  • Increased charges for pumping local groundwater* (10 percent increase)

*Note: Does not apply to Los Alisos rate area.

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