Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Why is my water bill higher than other water agencies?

A: It is impossible to compare the water bill with other water agencies as every agency is different. For example, Hi-Desert Water District imports State Water Project water through the Morongo Basin Pipeline while an agency such as Twentnine PalmsWater District does not. Hi-Desert Water District must pay for usage of the Morongo Basin Pipeline and the water that flows through it. These costs are passed on to the consumer.

Another factor is the number of customers the various water agencies have. With a greater number of customers, agencies are able to spread their water system costs to more customers resulting in a lower water bill for a single user.


Q: Why is the water rate so high?

A: Monies collected from the water rate on the water bill are used to pay for those expenses directly related to providing water to your home. For example, electricity to pump water from the aquifer is a major expense for the District. Electricity costs are approximately $350,000 per year. The water rate also includes the water the District purchases through the Morongo Basin Pipeline to recharge into the underground aquifer.


Q: Why can’t the field employees accept payment for water service at the time they are locking off my service?

A: Employees are not equipped to accept payments in the field. In the District’s office, your Customer Service Department uses computers to post payments on customer accounts and generate receipts. Employees in the field do not have computers to access customer information and do not carry money that permit these transactions.


Q: What is the Service Charge and Debt Service?

A: Monies collected from the Service Charge on your water bill cover the day to day expenses such as meter reading, water quality testing, emergency repair and payment processing. The Debt Service charge is used to pay for the Morongo Basin Pipeline and the recharge ponds.


Q: Why is my water bill the same as the last month?

A: Every charge on your water bill remains the same each month except the water rate which varies with the amount of water you use. The water you use is measured in 100 cubic feet or 748 gallon increments. Because of this, in one month a customer could use an additional 99 cubic feet compared to the previous month and receive a water bill for the same amount for water as last month.


Q: Why is my neighbor’s water bill lower than mine?

A: Every residential customer pays the same rate for water; however, the Water Charge on a water bill varies according to water usage. The customer that uses more water will pay more. The Districts water rate is called “Conservation Based Rates” which are designed to increase as more water is used, thereby promoting water conservation.


Q: Can I make payment arrangements for my water bill?

A: Yes. Customers that are having financial difficult or receive a large water bill resulting from a water leak may establish payment arrangements with the District. Interest is not charged and terms are on a case by case basis. However, all payment arrangements must be in writing, agreed to and signed by the customer.


Q: Can my water bill be mailed to coincide with my paydays?

A: The date of the water bill is determined by the date the water meters are read. Meter readings are grouped together by physical location of water meters and meter reading routes. When the water bills are grouped together, the District saves money in postage because of the bulk rate discount.


Q: Why is the returned check charge so high?

A: When the District receives a returned check, staff time is used in an attempt to collect those funds by making contact with the customer. The returned check charge is used to offset a portion of that expense. The bank also charges the District for all returned checks.


Q: Can I set up automatic deductions for paying my water bill?

A: Yes, an automatic payment deduction can be set up for checking accounts. If you are interested in setting up automatic payments simply complete the Auto-Pay application online. Click Here for more information.


Q: Can I use a credit card for payment?

A: Yes, the District can take credit card payment in the lobby or online. An automated credit card payment option is also available by phone.


Q: Why is the delinquency charge so much?

A: The delinquency charge covers the cost of labor for mailing reminder notices and delivering door hangers to delinquent customers. The late charge encourages customers to pay their water bill on time.


Q: How can I lower my water bill?

A: The best way to lower your water bill is to reduce your water usage. The water rates are based on water usage. The more you use, the more you pay. It is very important to fix all leaks immediately. If you suspect you have a leak or you have an unusually high water bill, contact the District for a free water audit. A field representative will visit your property and help check for leaks and provide other water conserving tips. For more information call customer service at (760) 365-8333.



Q: Why do you chlorinate?

A: The District is required by the State Department of Health Services to chlorinate water to kill bacteria. By maintaining a chlorine3 residual, the District can better assure that safe and clean water is delivered to our customers.


Q: When do you chlorinate the water?

A: The District chlorinates the water 24 hours per day as required by the State Department of Health Services. After leaks or other system upset, the District will often increase chlorine to make sure the water remains safe.


Q: How do I find out about the quality of our water?

A: The District publishes and mails a water quality report every year as required by the State and Federal government. The report is mailed to every customer by June. In addition, copies are available at the District office and pm the website. (Click Here to view Water Quality Reports)


Q: Why is my water cloudy at times?

A: Cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water. If you pour a glass of cloudy water, the air will rise and dissipate within a few minutes. The water is safe to drink and meets all quality standards. Often cloudy water increases in the summer and other high water demand periods.


Q: Why does my water taste and smell funny at times?

A: Since the District chlorinates on a full-time basis, you may be noticing the chlorine in the water. Another reason for the taste and smell might be the customer’s internal pipes in their home. Customers are encouraged to call the District for all water quality concerns. A certified water quality technician will contact you regarding your concerns.




Q: Is my meter read every month or is it estimated?

A: Every meter is read on a monthly basis. Even vacant land meters are read every month. If a meter is in the ground, it is read. The meter reading is recorded using a computerized hand held device, meter readings are entered directly into this device. It is not possible to estimate meter readings since the meter readings do not have readings from the previous month.


Q: Where is my water meter located?

A: Your water meter is typically at the edge of the street in front of your home. However, there are exceptions where your water meter may be at a distance if a long service line was required from the District’s main line to your home. Customers may also contact the Customer Service Department if assistance is needed to locate the water meter.


Q: Why can’t you give me an exact time for my service to be turned on or shut off?

A: Different types of work orders completed in the field are routed for efficiency according to location. It is difficult to predict the exact time a work order will be completed as each job requires a different amount of time.


Q: Why doesn’t the District repair water leaks on my side of the meter?

A: The service line after the meter is considered your private property. The District is only responsible for any repairs and water loss up to and including the customer’s shut-off valve located in the meter box which belongs to the District. Beyond the shut-off valve, all repairs and water loss are the customer’s responsibility.


Q: How do I check my water pressure?

A: If you believe your water pressure is too high or too low, below are three options for checking your pressure:

1.       Contact a plumber

2.       Participate in the District’s Household Water Awareness Program

3.       Purchase a pressure gauge and check the pressure at a hose bib



Q: Why am I responsible for low flow fixtures when I do not own the property?

A: The property owner is responsible for complying with the District’s retrofit requirements. However, enforcement requires that the water service be shut off at the subject property if the low flow fixtures have not been installed. If you installed these devices, you may want to contact the property owner about reimbursement.


Q: How could I use more water this year compared to last year?

A: Many times water usage will vary according to temperature. For example, a relatively cool, wet year would yield less water use than a dry and warm year. People tend to use more water for irrigation or filling and maintaining a swimming pool in the summer. The District offers a Household Water Awareness Program at no cost to you. A District representative will provide advice for reducing water usage. An appointment can be made by contacting Customer Service at (760) 365-8333.


Q: How do I know if I have a leak?

A: Most District water meters have a small red triangle known as a “tattle tale”. This tattle tale spins if the slightest amount of water flows through the meter. It is recommended that you shut off all the water inside and outside your home. When you are sure everything is off, check the tattle tale. If it is spinning, you may have a leak.


Q: How do I know what plants are drought tolerant for this area?

A: The District has a reference book that contains various types of drought tolerant plants for desert areas. Customers are invited to view the book at the District’s office during business hours. The District also hosts a demonstration garden featuring drought tolerant plants.

Q: When are the loans going to be paid?

Safe Drinking Water Bond Loan
Recharge Facilities
Farmers Home Administration #1
Farmers Home Administration #2
Certificates of Participation
Morongo Basin Pipeline



Q: When does the Board of Directors meet? Do they allow public input?

A: The Board meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the District’s Board room located at 55439 29 Palms Highway. Public input is welcomed and encouraged.


Q: What are some of the various programs the District offers?

A: The District offers the following programs:

1.       Household Water Awareness Program – Where, by appointment, a representative provides advice on conserving water. Click Here for more information.

2.       Toilet Rebate Program – Qualified HDWD customers can apply to receive funds for replacing an inefficient toilet with a new low-flow toilet. Click here for the application.

The District’s lobby features FREE water conservation products for customers: water bottles, water-saving hose nozzles, and collapsible pet bowls. Supplies are restocked Monday mornings. Additionally, customers may request a free water efficient showerhead by emailing or calling (760) 365-8333.