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July 01, 2022 18:36PM
July 01, 2022 18:36PM

customer care

Proposition 218 Notices

PUBLIC HEARINGS NOTICE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jan. 24 public hearings on IRWD's proposed rate changes and the redistricting of Board division boundaries will be conducted virtually via Webex as well as in person. Customers or property owners may attend and comment in either format. The Webex link will be posted on the Board Meetings calendar.                                                                                                                                      

The Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) is a public agency that provides water and sewer service. Our rates are based on the actual cost to provide water and sewer service to our customers and are based on the expenses included in IRWD's budget. The proposed rates will be effective January 24, 2022, and implemented beginning February 1, 2022. As proposed, they are expected to increase the average residential bill by 8.9%. See below for how the rates are calculated.

A critical IRWD business objective is to keep costs, and therefore rates, as low as possible for our customers. Even with the proposed increase, when compared with other agencies providing similar services in Orange County, IRWD’s rates are consistently among the lowest.

To estimate your bill and learn how saving water helps keep your rates low, residential and landscape customers can use our Rate Calculator. Commercial, industrial, public authority and nonresidential customers, please contact Customer Service at 949-453-5300.

To read the IRWD Cost of Service Studyplease click here.

Proposed Rate Changes for FY 2021-22 & FY 2022-23

For specific details on proposed rate changes that apply to you, please read the IRWD Proposition 218 Notice that was mailed to your home or business. The FY 2021-22 & FY 2022-23 Operating Budget and FY 2021-22 & FY 2022-23 Capital Budget are available by clicking the links.

Proposition 218 Notices for proposed rates beginning February 1, 2022

Please select from the following links to learn about the rate changes that apply to you.

IRWD Proposition 218 Notices

IRWD Residential Customers 
IRWD Residential Newport North Customers 
IRWD Commercial Customers 
IRWD Landscape Customers

Understanding the IRWD budget-based rate structure

IRWD uses a budget-based water rate structure. How much you are charged for the water you use depends on whether you stay within your monthly budget. For residential customers, each residence is assigned a monthly water usage budget based on several factors, including the number of people who live in the home, the square footage of outdoor landscaped area, and the weather. The chart below explains how the rate tiers work for residential and landscape water customers.

Rate Tier chart

Commercial customers are billed based on a similar structure, but with two tiers: Base Rate (0-100%) and Wasteful (101%+).

For specifics on the rate structure for each customer type, see the IRWD Proposition 218 Notices above.

Understanding basic components of your water bill
  • Variable water usage charges: Variable costs — for water you use both indoors and outdoors each month. These charges are based on the cost of local and imported water, and other costs of providing service that vary based on usage.

  • Service charges: Fixed costs — to recover the fixed expenses of operating and maintaining IRWD's infrastructure. There are separate service charges for water and sewer service.  These monthly fixed costs fluctuate depending on the number of days in a billing cycle.

For customers at higher elevations, a pumping surcharge is added to the variable water usage charge to cover pumping costs.

Each tier is assigned a rate based on the actual cost of service, which varies according to the source of water. Each source has a different cost of water service. For example, local groundwater from the Dyer Road Well Field here in Orange County is IRWD's lowest-cost water, while imported water (from out of state or Northern California) is our highest-cost water.

The Low Volume rate tier rewards customers who use the least water, which reduces the need for IRWD to buy water supplies that are more expensive. The Base Rate tier is for customers who stay within their monthly water budget allocation. The Inefficient and Wasteful tiers are for customers who exceed their monthly budget.

Why did the cost of water service increase? 

The main reasons for the change include uncontrollable cost increases to IRWD attributed to:

• Pass-through charges (5.7% increase) from Orange County Water District (OCWD) for pumping local groundwater, which is still the lowest-cost water.
• Pass-through charges from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) for imported water purchased through the regional wholesaler, the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) (4.6% increase).
• Pass-through charges from Southern California Edison (SCE) for electricity used in IRWD service operations (10% increase).
• Increases in costs associated with continuing to provide the current high level of water service our customers expect, including costs associated with repairs and maintenance related to maintaining the existing infrastructure (11.8% increase).

In recognition of financial challenges facing customers during the first 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRWD Board of Directors suspended a previously approved rate increase that was to become effective on July 1, 2020, and deferred a rate increase for costs associated with the adoption of the new two-year budget in April 2021. IRWD is now increasing rates based on its current cost of providing water service.

Updates to budget-based rate structure and rates 

The following sections provide key information on indoor and outdoor water budgets, billing tiers, fixed service charges, pumping surcharges and other technical data. For full details specific to your account type, please view your specific IRWD Proposition 218 Notice. A downloadable copy is available near the top of this page.

 Click on the sections below for additional information: