A water budget is an amount of water allocated per billing cycle representing efficient water needs. Like financial budgeting, a water budget gives customers a target so they can use water efficiently and pay lower rates.
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One billing unit is equal to 100 cubic feet of water, or 748 gallons of water.
The readiness-to-serve (RTS) charge is a bi-monthly fee based on meter size that covers a portion of the fixed costs of operating the District. Such fixed costs include maintenance of the water system and facilities, customer service, administration, and staffing.
A "pass through" charge covers unforeseen increases in wholesale charges for imported water and groundwater management, which may be passed through to the customer as they occur. If the District finds it necessary to pass through unforeseen wholesale charge increases, customers will be informed of these additional charges in advance of the effective date, and each additional charge will be itemized on each bill.
There are currently no pass through charges being assessed to District customers.
Budget-based tiered rates reward customers for using water efficiently. The District uses publicly available data to estimate each customer's indoor and outdoor water needs (your water "budget"), and allocates sufficient lower-priced water to meet those needs. If customers exceed their budget, higher rates are charged for the additional use.
The District currently offers a budget-based tiered rate structure for single-family residential customers and dedicated irrigation meter customers. All other customers are charged a flat rate.
The District's budget-based tiered rate structure rewards efficient water use while equitably allocating water supply costs and balancing revenue needs for single-family residential customers and irrigation customers. Budget-based tiered rates fairly allocate the cost of water service based on water needs and water supply and operational/maintenance costs. The method recognizes the difference between indoor and outdoor use and rewards customers who use water efficiently with lower water rates.
Water budgets represent an appropriate amount of water to meet customers' efficient water use needs. If customers exceed their budget, they are considered to be using water inefficiently and pay a higher rate to cover higher costs associated with discretionary or excessive water use.
For single-family residential customers, the total water budget for each two-month billing period is based on your individual indoor (Residential Tier 1) and outdoor (Residential Tier 2) allocations.
The indoor water allocation for single-family residential customers is calculated to accommodate four (4) people per household, based on U.S. Census and State of California Department of Finance data. Residential customers are allocated 52.5 gallons of water per person per day at the Residential Tier 1 rate, which is consistent with the State of California standard for efficient indoor water use.
The outdoor water allocation for single-family residential customers is calculated according to a property's estimated irrigated area, based on County of San Bernardino parcel data (lot size, house footprint) and estimated hardscape (garages/carports, driveway, sidewalks, etc.). Residential customers are allocated 38 gallons per square foot of irrigated area per year at the Residential Tier 2 rate, which is consistent with the State of California standard for efficient outdoor water use on mixed residential landscapes (about 80% grass, about 20% other plants). The outdoor water allocation is distributed per billing period based on the seasonal water needs of plants (more in the warmer months, less in the cooler months).
For dedicated irrigation metered customers (outdoor use only), the water budget for each two-month billing period is based on an outdoor water allocation calculated according to a property's lot size or measured irrigated area. Irrigation customers are allocated 45 gallons per square foot of irrigated area per year at the Irrigation Tier 1 rate, which is consistent with the State of California standard for efficient outdoor water use on large non-residential landscapes (100% grass).
Indoor water use is essential for public health and safety, while outdoor water use is necessary for growing aesthetically pleasing plants and landscaping. Additionally, it is more expensive to supply the water needed for outdoor uses due to peaking factors; in other words, we need additional water supply and distribution system capacity to meet the needs of outdoor watering, particularly in the summer months. Therefore, the cost of providing outdoor water is recovered through a higher rate. Outdoor water use can be reduced by increased irrigation efficiency and replacement of water-thirsty grass with more water-efficient plants.
Customers may apply for a variance to their water budget to adjust the number of people in a household, irrigated area, or for a special circumstance such as a home daycare facility. Download an Application for Water Budget Variance (PDF).
MVWD's website offers lots of information and opportunities for customers to save water. Click here to visit our "Rebates & Programs" page for a wealth of ideas on how you can save water.
How old are your water using appliances? Manufacturers are constantly improving appliances like toilets and clothes washers to be more water efficient. Visit www.socalwatersmart.com to see the list of rebates available for new, water efficient appliances.
Is your outdoor watering as efficient as it can be? Contact the Waterwise Community Center for a FREE landscape irrigation evaluation. Visit www.cbwcd.org or call (909) 626-2711.
For assistance or information on additional conservation programs and incentives, call MVWD's Community Affairs team at (909) 267-2130.
The District expects a long-term reduction in water use habits as our customers become more efficient. This expected reduction in water use is one of the reasons the District must raise rates in order to recover sufficient revenues to maintain high quality water service.
During times of drought, the District may be required to reduce demands even further. For instance, in response to the 2021 statewide drought the California State Water Resources Control Board required the District to reduce overall water demand by 20 percent compared to 2020 usage levels. Such a decrease in demand reduces the amount of expected revenues generated by existing water rates.
The District's demand reduction rates will maintain financial stability and high quality water service during future periods of additional planned demand reduction. Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 represent potential future rate adjustments to address a 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% planned reduction in demands. Demand reduction rates cannot be automatically implemented - they require separate action by the Board of Directors before they take effect. Demand reduction rates do not apply to recycled water customers.
Monte Vista Water District meets approximately 50 to 75% of its customers' annual water demand with local groundwater supplies. The remaining 25 to 50% is imported from the State Water Project, originating from northern California. The reliability of this imported supply source has diminished greatly due to severe drought conditions and environmental and regulatory restraints affecting the entire state of California. As a result, the cost of obtaining imported water supply has increased greatly.
Additionally, prudent utility management requires the District to maintain adequate reserves in order to fund facility replacement needs, as well as to accommodate natural disasters, spikes in energy costs, and reduced revenue due to droughts. Portions of the District's infrastructure are over 50 years old and are undersized for adequate water service and fire protection. Material and energy costs also increase over time, requiring periodic adjustment of rates.
Finally, water conservation legislation passed by the California Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2009 requires the District to meet specific water use reduction targets by 2020. District customers have been successful in meeting these required reductions in water use, and we expect a long-term change in our customers' water use habits which will impact District revenues.