FAQs

Have a Question? We have an Answer!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did my bill go up?

 

Many water consumption factors are accounted for on your bill including the number of days in the current billing cycle, the assumed number of residents in your home, and the square footage of your outdoor landscape that uses water. If your bill has increased drastically since last month, there are several questions we can look at to start troubleshooting!

Did you know that most water use occurs outdoors? Use the following checklist to reduce outdoor watering:

  • Check your sprinkler timer – the District offers a suite of tools and services to help you set your timer and irrigate efficiently
  • Check your timer’s back-up battery – this prevents your system from returning to factory settings if there is a power interruption
  • Check for leaking irrigation valves and fittings – walk your yard, station by station, looking for possible irrigation leaks
  • Check for wet spots in your yard – consistently moist or wet patches could indicate an underground leak

Did you have a new baby, or have another family member move in?

Your budget is based on a default number of people for your home type. If your number of permanent residents is not correct on your bill, you can request a variance to your budget by filling out the form here:  www.mnwd.com/variances.

Have you noticed any toilet issues? Do you have to jiggle the flush or do you hear it flush on its own sometimes?

Toilets are the #1 reason for high bills inside your house! If the flapper in your tank isn’t sitting properly, it can silently swallow hundreds of gallons per day without you even realizing it. At our office we have free dye tests that you can use to check your toilets for this type of problem. You can also test it yourself using some blue food coloring (not red!). Check out the simple instructions here:  www.mnwd.com/watersavingtips

Do you have an auto-fill on your pool?

Auto-fill valves are useful for maintaining good operating conditions for your pool. However, we often have seen that these valves can also get stuck open so that they keep filling the pool, with the excess water draining quietly away. Be sure to include the valves in your regular checks and maintenance. When the weather is warmer and evaporation increases, a pool cover can save you money as well. Nearly 15,000 gallons are lost to evaporation from a standard size pool.

Do you have a water softener or other treatment device?

Some customers elect to use a water softener or other whole-house treatment device at their residence. Be aware that treatment devices that backwash need careful attention. If the device is backwashing multiple times per day, it will increase your water usage significantly.

Still having trouble determining the cause of high water use? 

We’re here to help! We offer one complimentary Home Savings Survey for every customer in the district. If you need some help troubleshooting a leak, want to review your outdoor watering practices, or just need some help becoming more water efficient, please fill out this form to request a Home Savings Survey and a member of the Water Efficiency Team will schedule a time to meet with you: www.mnwd.com/rebates

 

How is my water budget calculated?

Every MNWD customer receives a personalized water budget each month designed to meet their water needs, which means that no matter the size of your household or yard, you should be able to remain within your water budget and pay the lowest available cost. Residential water budgets are calculated based on each customer’s landscaped area of their parcel, real-time localized weather data, and the number of residents in each home, among other factors. Residential water budgets vary from month-to-month based upon the weather and the number of billing days in each cycle.

How We Calculate Your Water Budget

Residential customers have both indoor and outdoor water budgets. The infographic below demonstrates how your water budget is calculated. To visualize how changes in your water use can affect your monthly bill, visit our interactive online bill calculator at http://www.mnwd.com/billcalc

Are we still in a drought?

On April 7, 2017, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17 which ended the Drought State of Emergency for most of the State, including our service area. However, low groundwater levels will still be recovering from the long drought for years to come. The order left in place prohibitions on wasteful practices and maintains more stringent water reporting requirements from water agencies.

In a related action, State agencies, including the Department of Water Resources have released a plan to continue making water conservation a way of life. We know that living here in Southern California, we are subject to droughts on a cyclical basis. By focusing on using water more efficiently, we will continue to build resiliency against the next drought.

For more information, you can read about the actions taken at the State level on the Department of Water Resources’ website.

 

How does the District set water rates?

The District is required under state law to set rates to each customer in proportion to how costs are created.  The rate setting process is through three steps:

  • determining the revenue needed over the next ten years to maintain infrastructure and operate the system- this supports a more incremental rate plan as opposed to dramatic shifts as costs change year to year
  • allocating those costs to the functional areas creating those costs
  • designing rates to recover revenue in proportion to who is creating those costs

 

Water reliability and water efficiency program costs are allocated to the above water budget tiers because those customers who use more than what has been determined to be efficient water use (i.e., water use within their respective budget) generate the need for, and therefore the costs associated with, the water use efficiency program.  The greater the demand for water, the greater the need to expand water efficiency programs or purchase new sources of supply.  These incremental cost increases are therefore proportionately allocated to customers who use water within Tiers 3, 4, and 5.

What does our water infrastructure cost and how much does it cost to maintain it?

Over half of the District’s annual budget is to fund investment in infrastructure.  Another 25% is to purchase water to serve the area and to treat wastewater.  Only about 13% of the District’s total budget is to pay for employee salaries and benefits.

 

How can I estimate my water budget?

Your water budget changes each month. Your indoor budget only changes based on the numbering of days in your billing cycle. Your outdoor budget changes based on your local weather conditions that impact evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration (ET) is a combination of the water lost through evaporation from the soil and transpiration which is the water lost by plants through their leaves.

To understand better how we calculate your water budget, you can read more here: www.mnwd.com/waterbudgetbasedrates 

To estimate what evapotranspiration will be for your property, you can check the historical average ET across our district:

You can also use the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) website to obtain a reference daily ET for specific parts of MNWD’s service area. Just navigate to the CIMIS website, click on the “Data” tab, select the appropriate station, and click “Run Report”. If your home is closer to the coast, we suggest selecting ‘Station 241 – San Clemente”. If your home is inland, we suggest selecting ‘Station 245 – Coto de Caza”. This won’t match your bill as we break our District into 110 microclimate zones, but will be close enough to keep you within your budget.

How can I learn about the District's water quality?

Rest assured, we perform water quality tests every day! Moulton Niguel’s water meets or exceeds all Federal and State regulations for water quality. Every year, we mail our customers the current laboratory analysis of our water and an explanation of where it comes from. You can see the current notice and get more information at: www.mnwd.com/reports-publications/

If you are interested in having your water tested by an independent laboratory, you can contact any of these certified local laboratories.

Click here for a list of Certified Local Laboratories

 

Where does my water come from?

The District provides potable and recycled water to approximate 172,000 customers throughout its service area. All of MNWD’s potable water is purchased through the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC). MWDOC purchases its water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – a regional water wholesaler that delivers water from Northern California and the Colorado River.

State Water Projectaqueduct
The State Water Project, also known as the California Aqueduct, transports water 600 miles from Northern California to the Central Valley and the southern portion of the state. It is owned and operated by the State of California and is the longest aqueduct system in the world, featuring 23 dams and reservoirs, 22 pumping plants that lift water to heights of 3,500 feet, and six power plants. The aqueduct is comprised of 473 miles of canals, 175 miles of pipeline and 20 miles of tunnels.

 

 

Colorado River ProjectLake-Mead
The Colorado River Aqueduct brings water 242 miles from the Colorado River through deserts and over mountain ranges to its terminal reservoir, Lake Mathews, in Riverside County. The aqueduct system includes five pumping plants that lift the water 1,617 feet.

 

 

Recycled Water
MNWD produces approximately 25 percent of our supply by capturing water that would normally  run out to sea. MNWD then treats the water, and re-uses it for irrigation and other non-potable, or non-drinking, uses. Every gallon of recycled water we use saves a gallon of drinking water. In total, we save 2.7 billion gallons of water each year through recycling.

What days can I water my yard? Are we restricted to a schedule?

You can water any day you would like! We have a budget based rate structure that allows you to decide when you would like to water. However, the best time to water to limit evaporation is after 7 pm and before 8 am.

To limit the amount of runoff from your sprinklers, try the cycle and soak method. Based on the watering schedule recommended by the Watering Calculator, take half of the suggested watering time for each cycle, and soak in between the two cycles. For example, if the watering calculator recommends 4 minutes of watering, water your lawn for 2 minutes, wait an hour, and then water another 2 minutes.

For more info information on how your budget is calculated click HERE.

Why is my meter being replaced?

Your water meter may be replaced for a number of reasons, some of which are listed below:

  1. The district has a Meter Change Out Program- a rotation to change out meters as they become 15-20 years old. This helps the District to accurately recover costs for supplying water.
  2. Meters fail over time and no longer register water passing through the meter. This occurs when the mechanical components of the physical meter do not turn properly.

For questions on why your meter is being changed call (949) 831-2500

How can I start or stop service?

You can fill out a request to start or stop service here: www.mnwd.com/start-stop-service

Or you can call us at (949) 831-2500!