Water Rates Process
Water rates cover the cost of providing a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water to the communities of Fremont, Newark and Union City. The District regularly conducts an analysis to ensure water rates accurately reflect the cost of water service. Water Rates were most recently updated in 2019. To view the current rates and fees, visit the District's Water Rates page.
Determining Rates & Charges
As a public agency, ACWD cannot take in funds beyond the costs of providing its service. The District periodically conducts an analysis to ensure water rates accurately reflect the cost of water service. The District also uses outside expert consultants to ensure that its rates are properly determined. Following a series of public workshops, the District notifies customers and the public about any proposed rate adjustments through various means:
- A formal notice of any proposed rate adjustments will be mailed to all addresses within the District’s service boundaries. The formal notice contains the details of a public hearing where the revisions are proposed to be adopted by the Board after a formal 45 day public input period. View more information on District transparency.
- Postings to the District’s website and social media sites
- Email notifications to customers who have subscribed to receive board meeting notices
- Press Releases
- Printed advertisements in local newspapers.
The District continuously looks for and implements ways to minimize costs. These include delaying capital improvement projects when feasible, reducing staffing levels, and using the District’s diverse water supplies to maximize use of lowest-cost water. Cost controls have helped keep the District’s water rates consistently in the lower half of 30 Bay Area water agencies. You can view a chart that illustrates ACWD’s current average water bill in comparison to other Bay Area water agencies.
The District also continuously evaluates new revenue sources such as grant funds, and has secured about $18 million in grant funds and reimbursements in the past year, primarily for mandated fishery projects in Alameda Creek.
Understanding the Current Water Rates - 2018-2019 Water Rates Update
The current rates were established at the conclusion of a process that began in early 2018 and concluded on February 7th, 2019, when the Board adopted updated rates and charges. ACWD conducted a series of financial workshops, community meetings, and Board Meetings to review presentations and analysis and deliberate on rate proposals.
December 13, 2018: At this Board Meeting, District staff presented proposed development charges and water rates based on the discussions that occurred over the series of financial workshops during 2018. The Board authorized staff to provide formal notice to the community of proposed rate increases. View the formal rate increase notice. Proposed adjustments to a number of miscellaneous fees and the District's Customer Assistance Program were also presented. The Board also authorized the Notice of Proposed Increase in Water Rates and New Water Shortage Emergency Stage Rates. View the Presentation from the December 13, 2018 Board Meeting.
ACWD hosted two community meetings to inform the community about future changes to water rates and the projects and programs supported by your rate dollars. These meetings were hosted in an open house forum allowing the public to visit multiple information stations and talk one-on-one with District staff. The meetings took place on January 16th, 2019, and January 30th, 2019.
There were a number of frequently asked questions by customers during the rates process. View the rate increase FAQ document.
2020 Water Rates Process
In 2020 ACWD completed a new rates process, with the Board ultimately declining to increase water rates. This process also included a series of workshops and Board meetings.
August 27, 2020: The District held a financial workshop to start a new rates process to review the allocation between fixed service charges and commodity charges in collecting revenues, the charges for dedicated fire service lines, and to provide an update on the District’s current financial status. View the presentation from the August 20 workshop.
October 22, 2020: The District held a financial workshop to continue the discussion regarding the District’s current and projected future financial status and potential water rates and charges increase. The workshop was conducted by webinar. Customers were invited to participate virtually to join the discussion and to learn more about the District’s finances, rates and charges, as well as the cost-of-service studies that the District is conducting to guide the rate setting process. View the agenda and presentation from the October 22 workshop.
Following Board deliberation at workshops in August and October, District staff prepared a water rates proposal with a 2 percent increase effective March 1, 2021 and another 2 percent increase effective March 1, 2022. After deliberation in the December 10th Board meeting, the Board determined not to move forward with a rate increase.
- Appendix A, which is the updated water rate study report prepared by the District's consultant in 2017.
- Appendix B is the underlying cost of service study that was prepared by the financial consultant in 2015.
- ACWD Water Rate Update Memorandum Supplement 2017.
If you should have any questions or comments about ACWD's rates and charges, please contact us by calling 510.668.4200 or emailing our rates team.