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Understanding Your Water Bill

Monthly Invoice Overview

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Rainbow Water is a government agency established in 1953 with a mission to deliver safe and reliable water to the community. The District is only allowed to charge for the cost to provide service without markup or profit. Any unused funds are held in reserve to help cover costs in future years and keep rates lower. The majority of the bill accounts for the purchase of imported water sourced over 500 miles away from the Northern California Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Rocky Mountains through the Colorado River. Rainbow Water purchases water from the water wholesale supplier, it is transported, stored, and distributed across the 320 miles of pipeline throughout the service area. 

A Guide to Terms and Charges
To help better understand the fees, below is a sample invoice with list of the most common terms and charges.

Invoice Example

1. Meter Size: Water meters vary in size from 5/8” up to 6”.

2. Class Code: The meter class code identifies the water capacity class for water fixed charges. Class codes have an A-H scale in three classifications:

  • Agriculture (AG), agriculture with residence (AD)
  • Permanent special agricultural water rate - PSAWR domestic (PD) & PSAWR commercial (PC)
  • Single-family (SFR), multi-family (MF), commercial (CM), and institutional (INS)

3. Penalty & Adjustments: Revisions to previous billing are applied and may include adjustments due to a leak or inaccuracies in billing.

4. O&M RMWD: Operations and Maintenance (O&M) refers to monthly fixed fees based on meter size to recover the fixed costs the District incurs to operate and maintain the water storage and delivery system. Fees include the costs to maintain and replace mainlines, meters, valves, and storage reservoirs.

5. Water Consumption: The variable charges include any amount of water consumed by the ratepayer. The amount billed include costs related to water usage, purchased, pumping, and treatment. These include pass-through costs for imported water and District costs for system maintenance.

6. O&M SDCWA: The O&M pass-through charges recover fixed fees imposed on the District by the San Diego County Water Authority to operate and maintain the system to receive imported water to the District's service area.

7. Backflow Test Fee: The charges refers to costs associated from the backflow program for ratepayers requiring backflow devices to help regulate water flow.

8. Pump Fixed: The fixed fees recover the cost to maintain pump stations that move water to service areas located at higher elevations.

9. Pump Usage: The usage variable charge recovers energy costs to
customers who reside in higher elevation pump zones that require water to be pumped in order to receive water service.

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