Frequently Asked Questions
Where does my water come from?
The Fair Oaks Water District (FOWD) delivers water made up of approximately 90% treated surface water purchased from the San Juan Water District and 10% groundwater pumped from FOWD-owned wells. The surface water received comes from one of the highest-quality water sources in the state—the American River. FOWD groundwater supplements surface water during high-demand times and system emergencies. All water provided to our customers meets or exceeds state and federal drinking water standards.
Why does FOWD charge for water?
The FOWD ratepayers are charged for water based on the cost of providing service to our customers. Revenues from water rates cover the cost of operations, maintenance, infrastructure replacement, customer service, water purchases, and other necessary programs. The money collected from rates is used to pay for expenses directly related to providing water to your home or business.
Why did FOWD install meters?
Water metering is required by various state and federal mandates. For example, in 1992 the Central Valley Project Improvement Act was passed by Congress, which required the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) to demand that all of its water contractors implement water metering. Since FOWD is a subcontractor to the USBR, we have made a good-faith commitment to meter all customer service connections. This commitment was necessary to ensure our future water supply.
Are meters installed on all service connections within the FOWD service area, and what was the cost?
At the end of 2011, FOWD completed the Meter Implementation Program (MIP), with all service connections within FOWD equipped with meters. The total cost of the MIP was approximately $16,600,000. From 2004 through 2011, FOWD invested approximately 35% of our total revenue from water rates on the MIP.
When did metered billing go into effect?
Effective January 1, 2012, all FOWD customers were converted to metered rates. Metered rates at FOWD are fair and equitable because customers now pay for the water they actually use. Within the same billing class, customers that use more water pay more, while customers that use less water pay less.
What is the structure of the new metered rates?
A metered bill consists of two components: a Fixed Service Charge and a Commodity Rate.
- Fixed Service Charge—This charge is for two months of water service based on your meter size and is billed bimonthly in advance. This charge covers the projected fixed costs for the operations of the FOWD. The service days for which you are billed the fixed service charge are displayed on your water bill under the billing period.
- Commodity Rate—This charge is based on actual water use. It is measured in CCF (hundred cubic feet) that has passed through your water meter during the billing period and is billed bimonthly in arrears. You are charged for consumption on your water meter using the current read on the meter (just prior to billing) and subtracting the read on the meter from your previous water bill. This charge covers the projected variable costs for the operations of the FOWD.
How is the cost of my water bill calculated?
Example: 1” meter with 40 CCF water usage in two months (using 2022 rates)
Finding your meter size?
If you are unsure of your water meter size, it can be found on your billing statement under Service Type. If you have trouble finding it, or don’t have a current billing statement, our Customer Service staff will be happy to assist you.
Do all FOWD customers pay the same amount for water use?
All FOWD customers pay the same amount per CCF unit of water use (commodity rate). However, the overall bill is calculated based on the meter size (fixed service charge) and water use in CCF units.
Why do I pay more for a larger meter?
It costs FOWD more to maintain a larger meter connection. The FOWD’s capital program and operating costs are segregated into customer, capacity, and commodity components. Customer and capacity costs are included in the fixed service charges. Customer costs are allocated equally to all customers, while capacity costs are allocated to customers based on the potential demand that could be placed on the water system (as reflected by meter size).
Can I downsize my meter service in order to reduce my service fee?
Yes. The reduction in meter size is voluntary and the actual meter size is determined by the customer—the smallest meter available to be installed is a 1-inch meter. Please contact Customer Service for details (Contact Us)
How does FOWD’s metered rate structure compare to the other nearby water districts?
The graph below represents the comparison of bimonthly charges for a 1-inch service connection using 40 CCF for public water districts in the local area. Bimonthly calculations are based on the fixed charges and commodity rates as published by other agencies for 2022.
How often will FOWD read my water meter?
Your water meter is typically read once every two months on a Monday (approximately one week prior to the scheduled bill dates).
When will I receive my water bill from FOWD?
All FOWD customers are billed on a bimonthly basis. You can expect your bill around the same date every two months. The scheduled bill dates for your account are determined by the billing zone you are in. You can find the billing zone for your account on your billing statement. For more detailed information about the billing schedule, or for specific details about your account, please contact FOWD Customer Service at (916) 967-5723.
Can I change my billing zone or request special bill dates?
No, the billing zones are used to divide the FOWD into manageable and efficient billing groups. FOWD has implemented staggered billing by geographic zones so that the billing and corresponding workload is spread evenly over a two-month period. FOWD will not consider customer requests to change billing zones or bill dates.
When is payment for my water bill due?
Bills are due and payable at the time of presentation and are delinquent if not paid by the due date printed on the bill (which is 20 days from the date the bill is prepared). Please open the attached link to view the FOWD policy on customer billing. (View Billing and Collection)
Do you have any assistance programs?
FOWD offers assistance to military families of service members who are called to active duty. (View Military Family Relief Program)
What do I need to do if I am moving into a home in the FOWD service area?
If you are a new owner, please contact FOWD Customer Service at (916) 967-5723 as soon as the property becomes your responsibility. NOTE: If you are the property owner, and want the bills mailed to your tenants, you must complete an Owner Tenant Billing Agreement and submit the document to FOWD prior to the tenant being allowed to access the property water service account.