Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: Why are HDWD’s rates different than those of neighboring water agencies?

A: Every agency has different rates based on numerous factors such as water source, number of customers, treatment needs and capital improvement projects. Hi-Desert Water District imports supplemental water from the State Water Project, an additional cost included in our rates that will differ from an agency that relies entirely on local water pumped from the ground. 

 

Q: What is the money we pay on our monthly water bill used for?

A: The revenue is used to pay for expenses directly related to providing water to your home or business. Costs include electricity for pumping, purchased water, meter reading and administrative expenses, treatment, maintenance and replacement of pumps and pipes. As a government agency, HDWD cannot earn a profit from the services it provides and must charge no more than the actual costs associated with providing services to its customers. 

 

Q: Can I make a payment directly to field employees at the time they are locking off my service?

A: Employees in the field do not have computers to access customer information and do not carry money for such transactions. Payments may be made at the District office, where the Customer Service Department uses computers to post payments on customer accounts and generate receipts. 

 

Q: What is the Service Charge?

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. 

 

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 HCF (1 HCF equals 748 gallons). Customers are only charged for a full unit, so if you use an additional 99 cubic feet compared to the previous month, your water bill will remain the same.

 

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 bill varies according to water usage. The District uses “Conservation-Based Rates,” which increase as more water is used. The customer who uses more, pays more.

 

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

A: Yes. Customers with financial difficulties or who receive a large water bill resulting from a water leak may establish an interest-free payment plan with the District. Terms are on a case-by-case basis; all payment arrangements must be in writing 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: What happens if my check is returned for insufficient funds?

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 of $25 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 or bank cards. If you are interested in setting up automatic payments, simply register your account, verify your email address and set up Auto Pay.

 

Q: Can I use a credit card for payment?

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

 

Q: What happens if I’m late paying my bill?

A: The District charges a late fee of 10% of the balance for the first 30 days (minimum $10). The fee covers the cost of labor for mailing reminder notices. 

 

Q: How can I lower my water bill?

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

  

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: Is the water served by HDWD clean and safe?

A: Absolutely. All drinking water we serve meets or exceeds government health and safety standards. HDWD performs hundreds of water tests each year for bacteria and other regulated contaminants. The results of that sampling are included in an annual water quality report that the District mails to every customer by June. In addition, copies are available at the District office and on the website. (Click Here to view Water Quality Reports)

 

Q: Does HDWD chlorinate drinking water?

A: The District is required by the State Department of Health Services to chlorinate water to kill bacteria. By maintaining a chlorine residual, the District can better assure that safe and clean water is delivered to our customers. Water is chlorinated 24 hours per day as required. After leaks or other system upset, the District will often increase chlorine to make sure the water remains safe.

 

Q: Why is my water cloudy sometimes?

A: Cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles and is completely harmless. 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.

 

Q: What can I do if I notice an unpleasant odor or taste in my water?

A: You may notice the taste or smell of chlorine in the water, which is not harmful. Pipes inside your home can also affect tap water. Groundwater, which interacts with rocks and sediments as it moves, can impact taste. Customers are encouraged to call the District for all issues related to water quality. A certified water quality technician will contact you regarding your concerns. 

 

FAQs - Operation Questions

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

A: All meters, even those on vacant land, are read on a monthly basis. The meter reading is recorded by HDWD staff using a computerized, handheld device.

 

Q: Where is my water meter located?

A: Water meters are typically found at the edge of the street, in front of a 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. Please contact Customer Service 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 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: Does the District repair water leaks on my side of the meter?

A: The service line after the meter is considered private property. The District is only responsible for 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, there are three options for checking the pressure:

       Contact a plumber

       Participate in the District’s Household Water Awareness Program

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

Q: When are the District’s loans going to be paid?

A:
Safe Drinking Water Bond Loan
2024
Recharge Facilities
PAID
Farmers Home Administration #1
PAID
Farmers Home Administration #2
PAID
Certificates of Participation
2021
Morongo Basin Pipeline
2022
 
 

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: If this was a particularly hot year, it is likely your water use increased for things like irrigation and filling and maintaining a swimming pool. As much as three-quarters of a home’s water is used outside. For a free water audit and advice on reducing consumption, the District offers a Household Water Awareness Program. 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: You can research appropriate landscaping through the Alliance for Water Awareness and Conservation, of which HDWD is a member. The District also offers a reference book on desert-friendly plants that can be viewed at our office during business hours. The  demonstration garden at District headquarters is also a good source of information and inspiration.

 

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 info@hdwd.com or calling (760) 365-8333.