Chapter 13.04
WATER SERVICE

Sections:

13.04.010    Definitions.

13.04.020    Statement of policy.

13.04.030    Sole water purveyor.

13.04.040    Limit of city’s responsibility to furnish water outside of the city.

13.04.050    Initiation of water service.

13.04.060    Discontinuation of water service.

13.04.070    Illegal consumption.

13.04.080    Bills—Payment.

13.04.090    Rates for service.

13.04.100    Charges for new water service.

13.04.110    Delinquencies and penalties.

13.04.120    Water service.

13.04.130    Water meters.

13.04.140    Installation of control valves required.

13.04.150    Responsibility for equipment.

13.04.160    Parcel owner’s duty to protect against danger of cross-connections.

13.04.170    Interruption in service.

13.04.180    Main extensions other than subdivisions.

13.04.190    Utilities department ingress and egress rights.

13.04.200    Fire hydrants.

13.04.210    Water service for fire protection.

13.04.220    Private fire protection service connections—Charges—Ownership.

13.04.230    Private fire protection service—Monthly rates.

13.04.240    Privately owned water wells.

13.04.250    Violations deemed misdemeanor.

*    Prior legislation: Prior code §§ 7410.6, 7410.15, 7410.23 and 7410.24.

13.04.010 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings specified:

A. “Adequate transmission system” means a water transmission system that is capable of supplying simultaneously, at a specific site under consideration, the required fire flow and the maximum daily rate of consumption.

B. “Applicant” means the person or entity who applies for a new water account with the city of San Luis Obispo.

C. “Cross-connection” means any physical connection between the piping system from the city service and that of any other water supply that is not, or cannot, be approved as safe and potable for human consumption, whereby water from the unapproved source may be forced or drawn into the city distribution main.

D. “Curbstop” means the city-owned valve attached to the water meter which can turn water on or off to a parcel.

E. “Customer” means the person or entity under whose name a water account is created and who is ultimately responsible for payment of all charges incurred on the account.

F. “Date of presentation” means the billing date as referenced on the billing statement.

G. “Distribution main” means a water line in a street, alley, or right-of-way used for general distribution of water and from which water service is available to a parcel.

H. “Maximum daily rate of consumption” means the average rate of flow, as estimated by the utilities department from actual city records, which is consumed during a twenty-four-hour period at maximum use.

I. “Parcel” means a tract of land including improvements, to which water service is or will be provided.

J. “Parcel valve” means a valve on the parcel side of the water meter which turns water on or off to a parcel. The valve is the parcel owner’s responsibility to maintain in working order.

K. “Private fire protection service” means water service for sprinkler systems, hydrants, hose reels and other facilities used specifically for fire protection on a parcel.

L. “Private pumping equipment” means any equipment attached to a water service and installed on private property for the purpose of increasing water pressure to that parcel.

M. “Private service line” means the water line that connects the city’s water meter to the point of entry to a parcel’s dwelling(s) and/or irrigation system(s).

N. “Regular water service” means water service rendered for normal domestic, commercial, industrial, and irrigation purposes on a permanent basis and for which the city’s general rates and regulations are applicable.

O. “Reliable water distribution system” means a system of public water mains capable of supplying a sufficient quantity of water to satisfy simultaneously the maximum daily rate of consumption and the required fire flow for a given site.

P. “Required fire flow” means the rate of flow required by the fire chief pursuant to the authority of Appendix B of the California Fire Code and determined in conformance with the latest edition of the Guide for Determination of Required Fire Flow as published by the Insurance Services Offices, or any subsequent recognized standard adopted by resolution of the city council.

Q. “Service connection” means the point of connection where the city’s water meter meets the parcel’s private service line.

R. “Services” means the service pipeline and appurtenant facilities such as the curbstop, water meter and meter box, all used to extend water service from the distribution main to the curbline. Where services are divided at the curb or parcel line each such branch service shall be termed a separate service.

S. “Utilities” means the utilities department of the city of San Luis Obispo and its duly authorized representatives. (Ord. 1597 § 1, 2014: Ord. 1428 § 2 (part), 2002: prior code § 7410.1. Formerly 13.04.020)

13.04.020 Statement of policy.

The city will furnish water service in accordance with the regulations contained in this chapter and in accordance with other applicable ordinances to any parcel within the corporate limits and to such areas outside the city limits as city council may designate.

In all such cases water shall be supplied only through water meters installed as set forth in this chapter and in each case the customer shall be charged directly for all water passing through the meter. (Ord. 1597 § 2, 2014: Ord. 1428 § 2 (part), 2002: prior code § 7410. Formerly 13.04.010)

13.04.030 Sole water purveyor.

The city shall be the sole water purveyor within the city limits. (Ord. 1597 § 3, 2014)

13.04.040 Limit of city’s responsibility to furnish water outside of the city.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as a contract on the part of the city to furnish water for any definite period or as a public utility with respect to any water furnished outside the city. (Ord. 1597 § 4, 2014: Ord. 1428 § 2 (part), 2002: prior code § 7410.3)

13.04.050 Initiation of water service.

A. Each applicant initiating water service shall be required to provide information according to the procedures established by the director of finance and information technology and to pay a new account setup fee established by resolution of the city council.

B. All applicants for water service may be required to deposit an amount established from time to time by resolution of the city council prior to initiation or restoration of water service.

C. An application for water service may not be honored unless payment in full has been made for water service previously rendered to the applicant by the city.

D. Applications for water service to parcels for which a service connection has already been installed may be made as set forth in this chapter. Such application will signify the applicant’s willingness and intention to comply with these regulations and to all modifications thereof, and to new regulations or rates duly adopted, and to make payment for water service rendered.

E. If application is made for service to a parcel where no water service connection has been installed, but a distribution main is adjacent to the parcel, the applicant, in addition to making application for service, shall comply with the regulations governing the installation of water services and pay all applicable fees. (Ord. 1597 § 5, 2014: Ord. 1428 § 2 (part), 2002: Ord. 1204 §§ 1, 2, 1992: prior code §§ 7410.2 and 7410.4. Formerly 13.04.030)

13.04.060 Discontinuation of water service.

Each customer discontinuing water service shall be required to provide information according to the procedures established by the director of finance and information technology.

A. Nonpayment of Bills.

1. A customer’s water service may be discontinued if a bill is not paid on or before thirty days from the date of presentation. “Date of presentation” shall be the billing date as referenced on the billing statement.

2. A customer’s unpaid balance for water service previously rendered by the city may be transferred to that same customer’s current water service and water service may be discontinued if water service furnished at a previous location is not paid on or before thirty days from the date of presentation.

3. If a customer receives water service at more than one location, and the bill for service at any one location is not paid on or before thirty days from the date of presentation, water services at all locations may be discontinued.

B. Unsafe Apparatus. The utilities department may discontinue service to any parcels where apparatus, appliances, or equipment using water is dangerous, unsafe, causing damage or not in conformity with any laws or ordinances.

C. Service Detrimental to Others. The utilities department may discontinue service to any parcels where the demand may be detrimental or injurious to the service furnished to other customers.

D. Fraud and Abuse. The utilities department shall have the right to refuse or to discontinue water service to any parcels to protect itself against fraud or abuse.

E. Noncompliance. The utilities department may, unless otherwise provided, discontinue water services to a customer for noncompliance with any of these regulations if the customer fails to comply with them within five days after the date of presentation of written notice of the utilities department’s intention to discontinue service. If such noncompliance affects matters of health and safety and/or is causing property damage, and conditions warrant, the utilities department may discontinue water service immediately.

F. Customer’s Request for Service Discontinuance. A customer may have his or her water service discontinued by notifying the finance department reasonably well in advance of the desired date of discontinuance. He or she will be required to pay all water charges until the date of such discontinuance.

G. Restoration—Reconnection Charges. The finance department may charge such amount as may be established from time to time by resolution of the city council for restoring water service which has been discontinued because of noncompliance with these rules. (Ord. 1597 § 6, 2014: prior code § 7410.17. Formerly 13.04.180)

13.04.070 Illegal consumption.

When a meter shows consumption of water after service has been officially discontinued, the owner of the parcel served will be held responsible for payment for the water consumption. In addition, the parcel owner will pay the city a new account setup fee for the water illegally consumed after service was previously discontinued. Water shall not be turned on again for a service connection until the illegal consumption has been fully paid for. (Ord. 1597 § 7, 2014)

13.04.080 Bills—Payment.

A. Rendering of Bills.

1. Meter Readings. Meters will be read at regular intervals as established by the city council for the preparation of regular bills, and as required for the preparation of opening bills, closing bills and special bills.

2. Billing Frequency. There will be twelve regular billings per year or as authorized by the city council.

B. Payment of Bills.

1. Periodic bills are due and payable on presentation. Payment may be made at the city finance department or to an authorized collector.

2. Closing bills, if service is to be discontinued, are due and payable on presentation. Collection will be made at the time of presentation.

3. Water bills shall be payable on the date of presentation and shall become delinquent thirty days from the date of presentation.

4. When bills are delinquent, the utilities department may demand that the full amount of both delinquent and current bills be paid.

C. Billing of Separate Meters Not Combined. Each meter on a parcel will be considered separately and the readings of two or more meters will not be combined unless specifically provided for in the rate schedule, or unless the utilities department’s operating convenience requires the use of more than one meter. (Ord. 1597 § 8, 2014: prior code § 7410.13. Formerly 13.04.140)

13.04.090 Rates for service.

The water rates to be charged and collected by the utilities department for all billings for regular water service shall be established from time to time by resolution of the city council. (Ord. 1597 § 9, 2014: prior code § 7410.14. Formerly 13.04.150)

13.04.100 Charges for new water service.

A. Charges for new water service shall be established by a resolution duly adopted by the city council and may be revised by resolution at any time. A copy of the current resolution shall be maintained in the office of the city clerk for public inspection.

B. All charges for new water service are payable upon presentation of the first bill.

C. Service and billing for both water and sewer service commence on the date the meter is installed.

D. Applicants for new water service will be charged for the appropriate meter, plumbing/appurtenances and installation.

E. Applicants for new water service will be charged any applicable impact fees according to Chapter 4.20. (Ord. 1597 § 10, 2014: Ord. 1428 § 2 (part), 2002: prior code § 7410.7. Formerly 13.04.080)

13.04.110 Delinquencies and penalties.

For failure to pay for water service by the provisions of this chapter prior to the delinquency date, the director of finance may add a penalty. The amount of the penalty shall be set by resolution of the city council. (Ord. 1597 § 11, 2014)

13.04.120 Water service.

A. Separate parcels will be supplied through individual service connections and private service lines shall not cross parcel boundaries unless authorized by the utilities department.

B. Water services will be installed in the size and at the location desired by the applicant where such requests are reasonable. Service installations will be made only to property abutting on public streets or to such distribution mains as may be constructed in easements or rights-of-way as determined by the utilities department. Services installed in new subdivisions prior to the construction of streets or in advance of street improvements must be accepted by the applicant in the installed location.

C. Service to Multiple Units. Separate houses, buildings, living or business quarters on the same parcel shall be served according to the policies and procedures established by the utilities department. Any exception to the policies and procedures shall be at the discretion of the utilities director.

D. The applicant shall be responsible for payment of charges for all water furnished to combined units, supplied through a single service connection. (Ord. 1597 § 12, 2014: Ord. 1428 § 2 (part), 2002: prior code § 7410.11)

13.04.130 Water meters.

A. All meters installed shall be located only in and upon streets, easements or rights-of-way that have been formally dedicated and accepted for public use, and shall be owned by the city.

B. Changes in size of water meter.

1. The cost to change the size of a meter on existing services will be at the parcel owner’s or customer’s expense.

2. A request for a change in size of meter will require approval of the utilities director. Upon approval, the parcel owner or customer will be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits (plumbing, encroachment, etc.) and payment of any applicable expenses and fees.

3. Parcels with flow rates having an average rate that exceeds the meter manufacturer’s maximum rated operating flow or other reliable benchmark as determined by the utilities department shall be required to upsize the meter at parcel owner or customer’s expense, including payment of any applicable expenses and fees.

C. Change in Location of Meters. Meters moved for the convenience of the parcel owner or customer shall be approved by the utilities department and will be relocated at the parcel owner or customer’s expense.

D. Meter Errors.

1. Meter Test.

a. On parcel owner or customer request:

i. A parcel owner or customer may, giving not less than one week’s notice, request the utilities department to test the meter serving his or her parcel.

ii. To cover the reasonable cost of a meter test, the utilities department will require the parcel owner or customer to deposit such amount as may be established from time to time by resolution of the city council.

iii. This deposit will be returned if the meter is found to register more than two percent fast. The parcel owner or customer will be notified not less than five days in advance of the time and place of the test.

iv. A written report giving the results of the test will be shown to the parcel owner or customer within ten days after completion of the test.

2. Adjustment of Bills for Meter Error. When, upon test, a meter is found to be registering more than two percent fast under conditions of normal operations, the utilities department will refund to the customer the full amount of the overcharge, based on corrected meter readings for the period, not exceeding one year that the meter was in use.

3. Nonregistering Meters. The utilities department may bill the customer for water consumed while the meter was not registering. The bill will be computed upon an estimate of consumption based either upon the customer’s prior use during the same season of the year or upon a reasonable comparison with the use of other customers receiving the same class of service during the same period and under similar circumstances and conditions.

4. Retirement or Removal of Meter. The cost of retiring or removing a meter service for the convenience of the parcel owner will be at the parcel owner’s expense. (Ord. 1597 § 13, 2014: prior code §§ 7410.12 and 7410.16. Formerly 13.04.170)

13.04.140 Installation of control valves required.

A. The parcel owner shall install a suitable valve, as close to the meter location as practicable, the operation of which will control the entire water supply from the meter.

B. The operation by the parcel owner or customer of the curbstop in the meter box is not permitted. (Ord. 1597 § 14, 2014: prior code § 7410.19. Formerly 13.04.200)

13.04.150 Responsibility for equipment.

A. Parcel Equipment. The parcel owner or customer shall, at his or her own risk and expense, furnish, install and keep in good and safe condition all equipment that may be required for receiving, controlling, applying and utilizing water, and the city shall not be responsible for any loss or damage caused by the improper installation of such water equipment, or the negligence, want of proper care or wrongful act of the parcel owner or customer or of any of his or her tenants, agents, employees, contractors, licensees or permittees in installing, maintaining, using, operating or interfering with such equipment. The city shall not be responsible for damage to property caused by spigots, faucets, valves and other equipment that are open when water is turned on at the meter, either when the water is turned on originally, or when turned on after a temporary shutdown.

B. City Property. The parcel owner or customer shall be liable for any damage to a meter, curbstop, water meter box or other equipment or property owned by the city which is caused by an act of the parcel owner or customer or his or her tenants, agents, employees, contractors, licensees or permittees, including the breaking or destruction of locks by the parcel owner or customer or others on or near a meter. The city shall be reimbursed by the parcel owner or customer for any damage promptly on presentation of a bill.

C. Private Pumping Equipment. The utilities department must approve the installation and operation of all private pumping equipment before city water service will be provided. Any pumping facility that does not incorporate an automatic shutoff control that will positively prevent motor burnout during periods of low or negative pressure will not be approved.

This section shall not be construed to excuse the obtaining of appropriate city council, and other, approvals necessary to permit (1) city water service, and (2) installation and operation of private pumping equipment.

D. Parcel owner or customer is responsible for maintaining plumbing connection on the parcel side of the meter. Parcel owner or customer equipment must be able to withstand meter change-outs and shutoffs. Parcel owner or customer shall repair their equipment if determined necessary by the city.

E. Parcel owner or customer is responsible for maintaining acceptable access to the water meter as determined by the city. At a minimum a two-foot clearance must be provided around meter.

F. No additions can be made in the meter box other than primary city water service.

G. Ground Wire Attachments. All individuals or business organizations are forbidden to attach any ground wire or wires to any plumbing which is or may be connected to a service connection or main belonging to the city; the utilities department will hold the parcel owner or customer liable for any damage to its property occasioned by such ground wire attachments.

H. The utilities department does not assume liability for inspecting apparatus on the parcel owner or customer’s property. The utilities department does reserve the right of inspection, however, if there is reason to believe that unsafe apparatus is in use. (Ord. 1597 § 15, 2014: prior code § 7410.18. Formerly 13.04.190)

13.04.160 Parcel owner’s duty to protect against danger of cross-connections.

The parcel owner must comply with state, county and federal laws governing the separation of dual water systems or installation of backflow protection devices to protect the public water supply from the danger of cross-connections. (Ord. 1597 § 16, 2014: prior code § 7410.20. Formerly 13.04.210)

13.04.170 Interruption in service.

A. The city shall not be liable for damage or claims which may result from an interruption in service. Temporary shutdowns may be made by the utilities department to make improvements and repairs. Whenever possible and as time permits, all customers affected will be notified prior to making such shutdowns.

B. Master metered properties such as mobile home parks and large apartment complexes must notify the utilities department and police department a minimum of twenty-four hours prior to any planned interruptions in water service for repairs, maintenance or other reason. (Ord. 1597 § 17, 2014: prior code § 7410.21. Formerly 13.04.220)

13.04.180 Main extensions other than subdivisions.

A. Water mains may be extended by developers or other interested parties that would benefit by their extension, at their cost, provided the improvements are designed to current city standards and policies and are approved by both the public works and utilities directors.

B. The owner or developer who installs improvements which abut property other than that being developed or in a greater size or capacity than that required for the development of the property under consideration may be reimbursed as provided in Section 16.20.110.

C. Where an extension of the distribution main is necessary or a substantial investment is required to furnish service, the applicant will be informed by the utilities department as to whether or not the service can be extended under these regulations as set forth in this chapter. (Ord. 1597 § 18, 2014: Ord. 1501 § 4, 2007. Formerly 13.04.100)

13.04.190 Utilities department ingress and egress rights.

Representatives from the utilities department shall have the right of ingress to a parcel for any purpose reasonably connected with the furnishing of water service. (Ord. 1597 § 19, 2014: prior code § 7410.22. Formerly 13.04.230)

13.04.200 Fire hydrants.

A. Use of and Damage to Fire Hydrants. No person, other than those designated and authorized by the proper authority, or by the utilities department, shall open any fire hydrant, attempt to draw water from it or in any manner damage or tamper with it. Any violation of this regulation will be prosecuted according to law.

B. Moving of Fire Hydrants. When a fire hydrant has been installed in the location specified by the proper authority, the utilities department has fulfilled its obligation. If a property owner or other party desires a change in the size, type or location of the hydrant, he or she shall bear all costs of such changes, without refund. Any change in the location of a fire hydrant must be approved by the proper authority. (Ord. 1597 § 20, 2014: prior code § 7410.25. Formerly 13.04.260)

13.04.210 Water service for fire protection.

A. Fire.

1. For all projects for which the installation of one or more city standard fire hydrants are required by the fire chief pursuant to the authority of California Fire Code Section 507.5.1, such hydrant or hydrants shall be incorporated into a reliable water distribution system which is directly connected to an adequate transmission system.

2. Each city standard fire hydrant required shall be operative and accepted by the utilities department prior to the commencement of combustible construction on the project.

3. Upon acceptance by the city of any city standard fire hydrant constructed by the city or by city administered contract awarded in compliance with applicable bidding requirements, the utilities department shall determine the total extent of the properties benefited by the hydrant installation and shall assign to each parcel or portion of parcel benefited a share of the total cost of the hydrant installation. Such assigned shares shall be approved by the city council.

4. The extent of the properties benefited shall be determined in accordance with the recommendations of the latest edition of the Fire Protection Handbook, published by the National Fire Protection Association, or any subsequent recognized standard adopted by resolution of the city council.

5. As a condition to the issuance of a building permit for construction upon a parcel or portion of a parcel to which has been assigned a share of the cost of a city standard fire hydrant, the permittee shall reimburse to the city, or to the party originally funding the hydrant construction, the total assigned share. Such reimbursement obligation shall exist for a period of fifteen years after city acceptance of the fire hydrant.

B. Water Main Improvements for Fire Protection.

1. Upon acceptance by the city of water mains installed to provide a reliable water distribution system in accordance with subsection (A)(1) of this section, and if such mains have been constructed by the city or city-administered contract awarded in compliance with applicable bidding requirements, the utilities department shall determine the total extent of the properties benefited for fire protection by the water main installation and shall assign to each parcel or portion of parcel benefited, a share of the total cost of the installation. Such assigned shares shall be approved by the city council.

2. The extent of the properties benefited shall be determined in accordance with the recommendations of the latest edition of the Fire Protection Handbook, published by the National Fire Protection Association, or any subsequent recognized standard adopted by resolution of the city council.

3. As a condition of the issuance of a building permit for construction upon a parcel or portion of a parcel to which has been assigned a share of the water main cost, the permittee shall reimburse to the city, or to the party originally funding the water main construction, the total assigned share. Such reimbursement obligation shall exist for a period of fifteen years after city acceptance of the water main. (Ord. 1597 § 21, 2014: prior code § 7410.26. Formerly 13.04.270)

13.04.220 Private fire protection service connections—Charges—Ownership.

A. Purpose. A private fire protection service connection in three- to ten-inch size will be furnished only if adequate provision is made to prevent the use of water from such services for purposes other than fire extinguishing.

B. Quantitative Charges.

1. Water for Fires. No charge will be made for water used to extinguish accidental fires.

2. Water for Fire Storage Tanks. Occasionally water may be obtained from a private fire service for filling a tank connected with the fire service, but only if written permission is secured from the utilities department in advance and an approved means of measurement is available. The rates for general use will be applied.

C. Violation of Agreement. If water is used from a fire service in violation of the agreement or of these regulations, the utilities department may, at its option, discontinue and remove the service.

D. Ownership of the Fire Service. All appurtenant equipment from the shut-off valve closest to the water main, including connections, pumps, tanks, chlorinators installed at any point in the line to the parcel’s water outlets shall be the sole responsibility of the parcel owner, both as to the original installation and as to the maintenance and upkeep. Such installations must be approved by the utilities department.

E. Pressure and Supply. The utilities department assumes no responsibility for loss or damage because of lack of water or pressure and agrees only to furnish such quantities and pressures as are available in its general water distribution system. (Ord. 1597 § 22, 2014: prior code § 7410.27. Formerly 13.04.280)

13.04.230 Private fire protection service—Monthly rates.

The monthly rates for private fire protection service shall be established from time to time by resolution of the city council. (Ord. 1597 § 23, 2014: prior code § 7410.28. Formerly 13.04.290)

13.04.240 Privately owned water wells.

Appropriate use of privately owned wells is allowed on individual parcels. The use of the water from a well shall only be utilized on the parcel on which it is situated. (Ord. 1597 § 24, 2014)

13.04.250 Violations deemed misdemeanor.

Other than authorized water distribution staff, any person who operates or attempts to open or close any water system valve shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall also be held liable for any damage that may result. (Ord. 1597 § 25, 2014: Ord. 1484 § 11, 2005: prior code § 7410.29. Formerly 13.04.300)