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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.

Customers are invited to attend ACWD’s public financial workshops to learn more about the District’s finances, rates and charges, as well as the cost-of-service studies conducted to guide the rate setting process. The financial workshops provide more in-depth information on the processes. 


Understanding Your Water Bill

ACWD bills customers every other month, or six times per year. On these bimonthly bills, a customer is billed both a fixed “service charge” and a “consumption charge” based on the quantity of water used during the billing period.

Service charge

Water customers are charged a fixed service charge based on the size of each meter at the customer’s property. For residential customers – who typically have a meter accommodating either 5/8- or 3/4-inch pipe -- the current service charge is $52.23 bi-monthly.

Consumption Charge

The water consumption charge is based on the number of “units” used by each customer. One unit is equivalent to 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons of water. The water consumption charge is currently $4.249 per unit for the typical customer.

The average single-family residential customer currently uses about 16 units of water in a two-month billing cycle, or about 200 gallons per day.  This means an average bi-monthly bill of $120.31.

View the full schedule of District rates & charges

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.  You can learn more about cost-of-service studies and financial workshops that provide a deeper explanation of the process. Following the 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, 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 been awarded about $10.6 million in grant funds in the past year.


Cost Breakdown
ACWD Budget Breakdown

To help customers understand how the District spends its funds, ACWD illustrates the current FY 2018/19 budget of $135.5 million in two ways:  by major budget groupings and specific budget cost elements.


Customer Assistance Program - Help on Tap

ACWD recognizes some customers may experience difficulty paying their water bills. The District’s customer assistance program, Help on Tap, provides income-qualified residential customers a $20 credit on the bimonthly water service charge. Read more about the Help on Tap program or call 510.668.4200 for details.     


Current Series of Financial Workshops

ACWD is conducting a series of financial workshops during 2018.  Agendas for all workshops are available at least 7 days prior to the meeting date in the Agenda Center.

Completed Workshops

February 22, 2018: This workshop focused on Facilities Connection Charges, which are one-time charges assessed on new connections to the water system.  View the presentation from the February 22 workshop.

April 26, 2018: This workshop included follow-up from the February 22 workshop, a general overview of water rates, and an evaluation of water rate policy objectives.  View the presentation from the April 26 workshop.

May 22, 2018: This workshop reviewed updates to the District’s budget for FY 2018/19 and the Capital Improvement Program.  An update was also provided on the District’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure project.  View the presentation from the May 22 workshop.

July 26, 2018: This workshop focused on water rate structure options and how to balance the District’s policy objectives of revenue stability and affordability.  View the presentation from the July 26 workshop.

August 15, 2018: This workshop focused on financial planning scenarios.  View the presentation from the August 15 workshop.

Upcoming Workshops

October 25, 2018: This workshop will include proposed water rates and development charges options for Board consideration.  The Board could select rates and charges to formally notice the community at this workshop.

December 6, 2018: If formal proposed rates and charges are not selected October 25, this workshop will provide for further Board deliberation on proposed water rates and development charges.

It is tentatively anticipated the Board will adopt updated rates at its regularly scheduled February 2019 meeting.

Please check back periodically for more information about the rates process and scheduling updates.



Contact Information
If you should have any questions or comments about ACWD's rates and charges, please contact us 510.668.4200 or email our rates team