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Water: FAQs

Why are water rates going up if the drought requires us to use less water?

The new rates take into consideration water conservation previously mandated by the State. It is anticipated that conservation will initially cause a 20%-28% reduction in consumption. Some of the costs of operating the water system go down when we use less water, such as the electrical costs of running the pumps. However, most of the costs do not depend on how much water is used, such as the cost of the distribution system, water quality monitoring, and debt payments on previous water bonds. There are also some extra expenses for keeping the wells operating adequately due to the drought, such as the loss of one well and repairs that are necessary to address lowered water tables in three other wells. The water rates need to be set at a level so that the costs of operating the water system can be covered regardless of how much water is used.

What are the water use regulations?

Please visit SaveWaterMilpitas.Org for updates on water regulations and drought conditions.

Are there still water use regulations even if we are not in a drought?

Yes, the California State Water Resources Control Board have decided that the use of water is to remain conservative by reducing our use within lifestyle changes.

Please visit SaveWaterMilpitas.org for current and lifestyle water use regulations.

Why does the meter service charge increase with meter size?

The meter service charge recovers fixed costs such as billing and collections, and customer service, which do not vary with the amount of water used. It also recovers the maintenance and capital costs associated with the meter. As meters increase in size, they require additional testing and attention, and cost more to repair and replace.

What can I do to reduce my water bill?

Reducing the amount of outside irrigation is the most significant way to reduce the charges from your metered use. On average, 60% of the water used by a residence is used outdoors for irrigation, and watering your lawn is likely your single largest water use. Making sure you have efficient fixtures in your home, including shower heads, toilets, and washing machines will also help you conserve water and lower your bill. In order to conserve water, consider installing aerators on bathroom faucets (saves 1.2 gallons/day per person), washing only full loads of laundry (saves 15 – 45 gallons/load), turning off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving (saves 10 gallons/day per person), reducing shower time (could save 10 – 20 gallons/shower), fixing leaky toilets (saves 30 – 50 gallons/day per toilet), installing efficient watersense-labeled shower heads (saves 1.2 gallons/minute), and/or installing efficient watersense-labeled toilets (saves 19 gallons/day). The Santa Clara Valley Water District has a host of rebates available to financially assist you in these efforts.

Why do water rates vary from city to city?

No two cities are the same. There are many factors that impact the cost of providing municipal water such as the age of the system and the availability of surface water. Rates can only be set to reflect each system’s costs of providing the water and related services. Unlike a private water company, there are no profits generated in a municipally owned system. Revenue from the rates collected by the City cannot be used for unrelated expenses such as costs of police, fire, or parks. The individual fees that are charged must be representative of the services received. This means one category of customers cannot pay for higher costs associated with a different set of customers.

Where does the City of Milpitas receive water?

The City has two water suppliers for the City, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Santa Clara Valley Water District.