customer care

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September 22, 2021 19:09PM
September 22, 2021 19:09PM

customer care

Residential Water Rates

IRWD uses a Budget Based rate structure to calculate your monthly bill. Each customer is assigned a monthly water budget and your water use rates will depend upon whether or not you stay within the monthly budget. Customers who conserve water get our lowest rates based on our actual costs to provide the service to you. Customers who waste water get higher rates based on our need to purchase additional sources of water from our most expensive source - imported water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

To use a rate calculator to estimate your bill and learn how saving water helps keep your rates low, please click here.

View the FY2021/22 Rates & Charges here.

What is On Your Monthly Bill?
  • Monthly Indoor & Outdoor Water Use Charges based on your Monthly Water Budget and actual water used.

  • Applicable Water & Sewer Fixed Service charges which are different than Water Use Charges

  • Applicable Pumping Surcharge

  • Applicable credits and unpaid balances from the previous billing period

  • Applicable setup and shutoff reconnection fees

  • Your billing period is approximately 1 month but may vary depending upon when the meter is read. The billing period and number of days are printed on your bill.

  • Please see the FAQ below for specific information on each of these bill components
Understanding Monthly Residential Water Budget Tiers

Tier 1: Low Volume

Up to 40% of monthly water budget

Water Use within Monthly Budget

Tier 2: Base Rate

From 41% to 100% of monthly water budget

Tier 3: Inefficient

101% to 140% of monthly water budget

Water use over Monthly Budget

Tier 4: Wasteful

141% and over of monthly water budget


(note: chart above is for single family homes, for multi family homes see rate charts below)

  • Each residence is assigned a monthly water budget which is based on several things, including the number of residents in the home, the square footage of outdoor landscaped area and the weather. For more details and specific formulas for single family homes, condos and apartments, see the FAQ below.

  • Your monthly water budget is printed on your monthly bill and can vary each month

  • Residences are charged for water use based on percentgage of water use of the assigned total monthly water budget for the household. See the Monthly Water Rate rate chart below.

  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 represents your total monthly water budget. Any water use charged at the Tier 2 or at Tier 1 Low Volume rate indicates that you have stayed within your water budget.

  • Water usage in Tier 3 Ineffiecient and Tier 4 Wasteful, indicate that you have gone over your monthly water budget and IRWD was required to purchase additional and more expensive sources of water.


Monthly Water Rates for Fiscal Year 2020-21
Irvine Ranch Rate Area - Residential Water Rates


% of Monthly Water Budget Residential with Outdoor

% of Monthly Water Budget
Multi- Family with No Outdoor

FY 2020-21 Rates
1 CCF = 748 gallons

Tier 1 Low Volume

0 -40%



Tier 2 Base Rate*

41 -100%



Tier 3 Inefficient




Tier 4 Wasteful




*your monthly water budget


Sample Bills:

Click here to view a sample bill.


Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding Your Bill - Get More Details
Your Monthly Water Budget Details+

  • Type of home: single family home, attached home (condo), or apartment

  • Outdoor landscape area

  • Number of residents living in the home

  • The weather

  • The number of days in a monthly billing cycle.  This can vary depending upon when your meter is read. The number of days will be printed on your bill.

Outdoor Water Budget and Landscape Area+

  • Your Outdoor Water Budget is based on your square footage of landscaping and the amount of water necessary to maintain a healthy landscaping that is comprised of 60% warm season turf and 40% drought tolerant landscaping.

  • Outdoor square footage can vary for each residence.  When IRWD does not know your actual landscape square footage we use a default square footage as noted below.

  • You can request a variance if your outside landscape area differs from the default amount you have been assigned.

  • Single Family Home Default for Outdoor: 1,300 square feet of landscape area

  • Attached Home (condo) Default for Outdoors: 435 square feet of landscape area

  • Apartment: No landscape area (no variance available)

Indoor Water Budget and Number of Residents+

  • Your indoor water budget is based on the number of residents in your home.  You are assigned 50 gallons per person per day for your indoor water budget.

  • When IRWD does not know the actual number of people living in the home, we assign a default number of residents as noted below.

  • You can request a variance if the number of people living in the home differs from the default number. Variances must be renewed every year.

  • Single Family Home Default Number of Residents: 4 people

  • Attached Home (Condo) Default Number of Residents: 3 people

  • Apartment Default Number of Residents: 2 people

How the Weather Impacts your Monthly Water Budget+

  • Your outdoor landscape needs more or less water depending upon the weather.  For example, during the summer months plants need more water so you will have a slightly increased monthly water budget.  In the winter, your water budget will be reduced as you will need less water to maintain a healthy landscape.

  • IRWD uses weather monitoring stations situated throughout the service area to determine how to adjust your monthly water budget due to local weather conditions.

Technical Formula Used to Calculate Your Monthly Water Budget+

How many days are in a Billing Cycle?+

  • The default billing cycle is 30 days, but may be more or less depending upon when your meter is read.

  • For billing cycles that are longer or shorter than 30 days, the fixed service charges and water conservation credit will be billed on a proportional number of days. So, you may see small differences in the fixed charges from billing period to billing period

Water Fixed Service Charge+

  • There is a water fixed water service charge for water that does not include the cost of water used by the customer.

  • This is a separate water fixed service charge that you will see on your bill.

  • The water fixed service charge pays for IRWD operations, maintenance and infrastructure costs.

  • This water fixed charge is based on your meter size which appears on your monthly bill.

  • Most residential properties have a 5/8 x 3/4 inch meter and incur a fixed per month charge. For a full list of meter sizes and fixed charges click here.

  • The monthly water fixed service charge for water is based on a 30 day period.  Billing cycles that are longer or shorter than 30 days are billed on a proportional number of days. So, you may see small differences in the water fixed service charges from billing period to billing period.

What is a Water Conservation Credit?+

  • The Water Conservation Credit recognizes that low volume users don't fully use their reserved capacity in the system

  • IRWD provides a two dollar water conservation credit to users who are underutilizing the system and effecitvely "leasing back" to the system for use by other cutomers.  This prevents the District from having to upsize infrastructure as quickly as capacity is exhausted.

  • Customers that remain in the Low Volume Tier (tier 1) for 9 out of 12 months for the previous calendar year will receive a two dollar Water Conservation Credit for each month in the following year.

  • New customers must be with the District for a full calendar year before they can receive a Water Conservation Credit.

  • The monthly Water Conservation Credit is based on a 30 day period. Billing cycles that are longer or shorter than 30 days are billed on a proportional number of days. So, you may see small differences in the credit from billing period to billing period

Fixed Sewer Service Charge+

  • The Sewer Fixed Service Charge pays IRWD to operate and maintain the sewer system.

  • The monthly Sewer Fixed Service Charge is based on a 30 day period. Billing cycles that are longer or shorter than 30 days are billed on a proportional number of days. So, you may see small differences in the fixed charges from billing period to billing period

  • New customers will be billed at the highest of the 3 tiers until the customer has established a full calendar year of water usage history. (see chart in next bullet)

  • Click here to see a chart itemizing the Sewer Fixed Service Charge.

Pumping Surcharge for Drinking (Potable) and Recycled Water+

  • IRWD incurs additional pumping costs in order to provide service to customers who reside at higher elevations within the service area.

  • The Pumping Surcharge is based on the actual prevailing energy costs and varies depending upon the elevation of the area served.

  • If you live in an area affected by a Pumping Surcharge, it will be itemized on your bill.

  • Click on links to see pumping surcharge maps that indicate the pumping surcharge zones and associated charges for both drinking water and recycled water.

How to Get a Variance+

  • IRWD encourages residential customers who need more water than their basic water budget to apply for a variance.

  • Variances are given for additional occupants, special medical needs and larger outdoor landscape areas, among other things.

  • Variances are effective the date that the request is received by the District and must be renewed annually.

  • All new customers receive a variance application with instructions.

  • Customers who feel they qualifiy for a variance should complete a variance application.

  • Variances are only good for a year. Customers must complete a variance renewel application every year. You will receive this renewel application in the mail on your one year anniversary.

Setup Fees for New Accounts and Shutoff Reconnection Fees+

  • A one time setup fee for new accounts is 25 dollars
  • The shutoff reconnection fee ranges between 70 to 95 dollars 
    • 70 dollars for during business hours
    • 95 dollars for non business hours