Rates & Fees

All revenue from the city’s water and sewer charges are used exclusively for the recovery of costs associated with providing water and sewer services, and to fund system maintenance and capital improvements. In addition to funding operation and maintenance of the City’s water system, adjustments to rates are necessary to recover pass-through cost increases from Metropolitan Water and the San Diego County Water Authority for raw water and fixed service charges. Adjustments to sewer rates are necessary to recover pass-through cost increases from San Diego Metro, where the City’s wastewater is treated and discharged into the ocean.

The City of Poway’s water and sewer rates are established each year effective the first full billing cycle after January 1.

Notice of Proposed Water/Wastewater Sewer Rates

The City Council will hold a public hearing on March 3 to discuss the new rate structure and proposed rates for water and wastewater. The notice of the public hearing was scheduled to be mailed no later than Friday, Jan. 17. To comply with rules of Prop 218 (passed by California voters in 1996), the city is required to provide written notice by mail of the proposed fee or charge at least 45 days prior to the public hearing. 

All of the city’s active accounts (water, wastewater and recycled water customers) were compiled for the mailing list to receive the notice. This list includes 13,355 “owners” of the accounts, which is the individual who applied for and is responsible for the services provided. InfoSend (the company mails the city’s water, wastewater and recycled water bills) mails the notices with the database of active accounts. Account holders who receive and pay their bill electronically will receive a written notice via mail as required by law. Mailing information is captured for all accounts when an individual first applies for service.

Current Water / Wastewater Rates

Utility-Related Fees

For other services such as Restoration of Service, After-Hours Restoration, and Tag Fees, please refer to the table below.

After-Hours Fee on Weekdays, closed Fridays, or Saturdays**$70
After-Hours Fee on Sundays or Holidays**$86
Hydrant Meter Billing / Closing Account$96
Meter Testing$70
Returned Check / Payment$25
Tag Fee$32
Turn-off / Restoration of Service$54

**The After-Hours Restoration Fee is in addition to the Turn-off/Restoration of Service Fee. This fee must be paid the following business day no later than 9 a.m. at the Customer Services Division located at City Hall to avoid an interruption in service.

About Your Sewer Bill

How is my sewer bill calculated?

All single-family residential customers pay a fixed bimonthly sewer charge. In addition the residential commodity rate is based on November through April (winter months) water usage to exclude any excess water used on landscaping in the warmer months. The lowest water consumption during this period is selected for each of the three most recent years, and then averaged. Eighty-five percent of that averaged amount is estimated as sewer discharge. This figure is used to place the customer in one of seven sewer tiers for a one-year period.

When will my sewer tier be recalculated?

Each year sewer tiers are recalculated to include the previous three years winter water use.

Why are there two different charges on my sewer bill?

The fixed bimonthly sewer charge recovers a portion of the City’s fixed costs of system capacity, billing, and administrative overhead. The commodity rate recovers the cost of sewer treatment based on consumer use.

Why do we use the lowest winter water use?

We use the lowest winter water use because it most accurately depicts your household’s return of water to the sewer system. The winter months are used to exclude any excess water used in landscaping, or other outside watering, making indoor use the primary consumption of water. We use the lowest bill to account for changes in weather that may result in a higher bill, or any other variation that may contribute to a high bill.

Why do we take 85% of the lowest winter water use?

We take 85% of the lowest winter water use based on the assumption that 15% of the billed water use is not returned to the sewer system for irrigation and pool filling, while the remaining 85% is returned to sewer.

Why do we use the last three years average?

We use the last three years average of lowest winter water use, variations in weather, leaks, or other variations, that may cause a higher than normal sewer bill are minimized for our customers.

I just moved to Poway, what sewer tier will I be placed in?

New customers, in single-family residential locations, are assigned to sewer tier 3 until they establish their own winter water use (One full billing cycle during the winter months of November through April).

What if I don’t fall into the single-family residential category?

Commercial and other non-residential customers pay sewer charges based on their water consumption for that billing period. All customers also pay a fixed bimonthly sewer service charge based on water meter size and customer classification to recover the City’s costs for system capacity, billing, and administrative overhead.

About the City of Poway’s Water System

Where do we get our water?

Close to 100 percent of Poway’s raw water needs are met through importing water from the San Diego County Water Authority. The Water Authority’s two main sources of raw water are from the Northern California Aqueduct, and the Colorado River Systems.

Facts about the City of Poway’s water system… 

  • Annually, about four billion gallons of water are treated at the Lester J. Berglund Water Treatment Plant for use by Poway residents and businesses.
  • Once treated, water is delivered to the community through the water distribution system pumps and 289 miles of pipe.
  • The City is increasing its capital reinvestment in the water system to ensure the continued reliability of the City’s aging system.

The City of Poway’s water budget…

The City’s Fiscal Year 2018 to 2019 Budget for water supply, operations, maintenance and administration is $26.8 million. Roughly 68% of this cost is made up of water supply purchases and other pass-through charges from the San Diego County Water Authority. The remaining 32% represents the City’s cost for operations, maintenance, and administration. Revenue collected by the City from water fees and charges is used exclusively to operate, administer, maintain, and rehabilitate the water system.

In January 2016 the City instituted a drought recovery surcharge of $0.75 per unit to address the temporary loss in revenue due to state-mandated conservation requirements. As Council originally committed, the drought recovery surcharge ended in December 2018.