Water Rates Process 

Water Rates Process 

The District completed a series of Board financial workshops, meetings, and a public hearing regarding water-related rates and charges, including drought surcharges and private fire service rates. At the conclusion of the rates process, the Board approved a rate increase of 4% to the service charge and commodity charges effective March 1, 2023 and March 1, 2024.  The Board also approved the updates to the drought surcharge and private fire service rates.

2022 Water Rates Process

The District conducted a series of financial workshops to review the budget and water rates on May 18, July 20, August 25, and September 22, 2022. At the conclusion of the workshops, the Board directed staff to prepare a formal rate increase proposal, to be presented at the regular December Board meeting, at which time the Board would consider issuing a formal rate increase notice to all customers. This meeting was held on December 8, 2022.

Board Meetings

December 8th, 2022: At this Board meeting, District staff presented proposed charges and water rates based on the discussions that occurred over the series of financial workshops during 2022, including a review of proposed water-related rates and charges, facilities connection charges, miscellaneous fees and charges, and setting a public hearing. The Board set February 9, 2023 for a public hearing and authorized staff to provide formal notice to the community of proposed rate increases. View the formal rate increase notice. 

Financial Workshops

May 18, 2022: At this workshop, District staff presented the Midcycle Updates to Fiscal Year 2021/22 and Fiscal Year 2022/23 Budget to the Board. The Board reviewed forecast revenue, operating expenses, capital expenditures, staffing levels and labor-related costs, and multi-year financial projections. Staff presented the updated financial projections and proposed amendments to the year 2 budget. View the presentation from the May 18, 2022 workshop.

July 20, 2022: This workshop focused on the District’s financial status and projections, water rates and charges, rate structures, the allocation between fixed and variable charges, the approach to funding the capital improvement program, stage rates that could be charged during a water shortage emergency. View the presentation from the July 20, 2022 workshop.

August 25, 2022: This workshop focused on financial planning scenarios, the State Water Project Override tax, use of the property tax roll for collecting on delinquent accounts, and a review of drought surcharges (stage rates).   View the presentation from the August 25, 2022 workshop.

September 22,2022: This workshop focused on the financial planning assumptions and metrics, an overview of potential approaches to drought surcharges, and an overview of the District's State Water Project Override property tax. View the presentation from the September 22, 2022 workshop.

Community Meetings

January 19, 2023: This meeting was conducted in person at 6 p.m. at Downtown Event Center, located at 3500 Capitol Avenue, Fremont, CA 94536.

January 26, 2023: This meeting was conducted on Zoom at 6 p.m. 

Public Hearing

February 9, 2023: A public hearing on the proposed increases to ACWD's water rates and charges was held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, 2023. Members of the public could participate in this meeting via webinar or in person at ACWD Headquarters at 43885 S. Grimmer Blvd. At this meeting, the Board discussed the revisions to the District’s Rate and Fee Schedule regarding water-related rates and charges, including drought surcharges and private fire service rates, the customer assistance program, facilities connection charges, and miscellaneous fees and charges. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Board approved staff recommendations. View the presentation from the February 9, 2023 workshop.

Additional Documents

For information on ACWD's rate history, visit the Previous Water Rates Processes page

Determining Rates & Charges

Water rates cover the cost of providing a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water to the communities of Fremont, Newark and Union City. 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 is 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 the most recently issued notice of rate adjustments that was distributed in December 2022
  • 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 be efficient and control costs. These include managing the District's diverse water supplies to maximize use of lowest-cost water, installing Advanced Metering Infrastructure to improve metering accuracy and provide long-term cost reductions and operational savings, increasing energy efficiency to reduce power costs, lowering costs related to our vehicle fleet by transitioning to a leasing program, and partnering with other agencies to execute joint projects to reduce costs and community impacts. 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 median 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 $24 million in grant funds and reimbursements, primarily for mandated fishery projects in Alameda Creek.

To view the current rates and fees, visit the District's Water Rates page. 

Contact Information

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.