Chapter 13.11


13.11.010    Definitions.

13.11.020    Conditions and limitations of service.

13.11.030    Refusal or discontinuance of water service.

13.11.040    Application for service connection.

13.11.050    Bills and payment.

13.11.060    Reestablishment of service and deposits.

13.11.070    Meter testing.

13.11.080    Automatic fire service.

13.11.090    Fire hydrant meters.

13.11.100    Installation of service connections and meters.

13.11.110    New facilities.

13.11.120    Water rates – Set by resolution.

13.11.130    Prohibited acts.

13.11.010 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

“Applicant” means an individual or agency applying for City water service.

“City Council” or “Council” means the City Council of the City of Poway.

“Customer” means an individual or agency of record receiving water service from the City of Poway.

“Customer handle” means the point of connection where the City-maintained water system ends and the customer connection begins.

“Fire service” means provision of water to premises for automatic fire protection.

“Main” means distribution pipelines located in streets, highways, public ways, or private rights-of-way that are used to serve the general public.

“Main extension” means extension of distribution pipelines, exclusive of service connections, beyond existing facilities.

“Meter size” means the standard classification by which water meters are identified, according to the size of orifice.

“Parcel” means a fee ownership parcel as shown on the roll of the San Diego County Assessor or a subsequent division of land into a separate parcel or lot as shown on a county-approved division of land map thereof, or for which an unrevoked certificate of compliance has been issued by the City or county. See “lot” as defined in PMC 17.04.440.

“Premises” means the integral property or area, including improvements thereon, to which water service is or will be provided.

“Residential” means the provision of water for household purposes, including water for sprinkling lawns, gardens, and shrubbery; watering livestock; washing vehicles, and other similar and customary purposes.

“Service connection” means the pipe, valves, and other facilities used by the City to convey water from its distribution mains to the meter.

“Water unit” means 100 cubic feet of water, which is equivalent to approximately 748 gallons of water. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.020 Conditions and limitations of service.

As a condition of connection to the City’s water system, and continued water service, all customers agree to the following conditions and limitations of City water service, for which the City shall incur no liability or damages:

A. No Guarantee of Continual Service. The City is not a guarantor of continual water service in any quantity, or at any pressure for any purpose, including fire protection.

B. Shutdowns and Variations in Water Service. All water service is subject to shutdowns and variations in water service as required for the operation of the system, and resulting from causes within and outside the City’s control.

C. Malfunctioning of Water System. The City shall incur no liability or damages as a result of the failure or malfunctioning of any portion of its water system, or from inadequate water quantity or pressure.

D. Water Pressure. The City shall incur no liability or damages as a result of City water system pressures exceeding the pressure limitations of a customer’s system, and the customer may be required to install and maintain a pressure regulator to protect the customer’s system.

E. Water System Rules, Regulations and Charges. All customers agree to abide by and be subject to all rules and regulations, fees, rates, and charges pertaining to water service that are adopted by the City Council.

F. Responsibility for Maintenance of Customer’s Equipment. The City’s jurisdiction and responsibility ends at the customer handle connected to the meter. All equipment, including the service line, on the customer’s side of the customer handle is the customer’s sole responsibility to furnish, install, and maintain. The City shall not be responsible for damage to property caused by spigots, faucets, valves, pumps, 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. All customers are required, as a condition of receiving water service, to maintain their service line and other equipment in good repair and free from leakage at the customer’s own expense.

G. Recommendations as to Customer Facilities. Recommendations made to a customer by the City or its agents regarding matters such as the customer’s plumbing or appliances, use of water on the customer’s premises, or the location of the customer’s facilities will be made or offered without charge, except as otherwise provided, and shall result in no liability or damages to the City.

H. Ownership of Meters. The City shall retain ownership of all meters installed within the City. Payment by a customer of installation fees, capacity fees, meter charges, connection charges, or any other fees and charges shall not transfer ownership of a meter from the City to a customer.

I. Temporary Suspension and Restoration of Water Service. The City shall have the right to temporarily suspend delivery of water when necessary or convenient for the purpose of making repairs or improvements to its system, or in the case of an emergency, and shall incur no liability or damages for interruption in service. The City shall not be responsible for damage to property caused by spigots, faucets, valves, pumps, 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.

J. Water Quality. When furnishing water for human consumption, the City will endeavor to supply safe and potable water at all times, but shall have no liability or damages resulting from variations in water quality or variations in the chemical composition of the water it furnishes.

K. Access to Premises and Use. The City or its duly authorized agents shall at all reasonable times have the right to enter a customer’s premises for any purpose related to the service of water to a customer. The City shall also have the right to use, without cost or obligation to contribute to the maintenance thereof, any easement of a customer necessary to service or maintain any part of the City’s water system that benefits the customer.

L. Resale of Water. Except by special agreement with the City, no customer shall resell any of the water received from the City, nor shall such water be delivered to premises other than those specified in the application for service.

M. Unsafe Apparatus. The City may refuse to furnish water and may discontinue service to any premises where apparatus, appliances, or equipment using water is dangerous, unsafe, or not in conformity with any laws or ordinances. The City does not assume liability for inspecting apparatus on the customer’s property. The City reserves the right to inspect the premises if there is reason to believe that unsafe apparatus is in use.

N. Installation of Service Connections and Meters. Only duly authorized employees, contractors, or agents of the City will be permitted to install or remove any service connection, meter, or backflow prevention device.

O. Damage to City’s Property. The customer shall be liable to the City for the cost of repairing any damage to a meter or other equipment or property owned by the City, if the damage is caused by an act of a customer or customer’s tenants, agents, employees, contractors, licensees, or permittees.

P. Construction of Facilities. All facilities that are a part of the City’s system, including mains and fire hydrants, must be of a design and size and shall be engineered, constructed, and installed in accordance with the City’s standards and requirements.

Q. Notices to Customers. Notices from the City to a customer will normally be given in writing, and either delivered or mailed to the customer’s last known address, except in the case of an emergency. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.030 Refusal or discontinuance of water service.

A. The City may refuse to furnish water service or may discontinue water service to any premises in the following circumstances:

1. A customer’s water usage is detrimental or injurious to other customers or to public health and safety, or results in inadequate service to other customers.

2. A customer has engaged in fraud in obtaining water service, or is engaged in theft of water service.

3. A customer has failed to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to the provisions set forth in PMC 13.11.130, and after receiving written notice of the violation and the City’s intention to discontinue service has failed to correct the violation within the time frame set forth in the written notice. In the event of a violation that presents a threat to public health and safety, the City may discontinue water service immediately and without notice.

4. A customer has failed to pay all rates, fees, deposits, and charges and other amounts payable to the City for water service when due.

B. Restoration of Service. The City may charge a fee, as adopted by the City Council from time to time, for restoring water service which has been discontinued because of noncompliance with these rules, or discontinued at the customer’s request. An additional fee may be charged by the City for a request to restore service outside of normal business hours. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.040 Application for service connection.

A. Each applicant for a service connection will be required to sign a form provided by the City.

B. The application shall be accompanied by a payment of all required deposits, fees, and charges then in effect.

C. Changes in Customer’s Equipment or Use of Service. Any customer making a material change in the size, character, or extent of the customer’s equipment or operations related to water service, resulting in an increase in the customer’s use of water or a change in the character of the customer’s water usage, shall immediately give the City notice of the change. The City may require that the customer’s service or meter size be increased at the customer’s expense, if the City deems it necessary due to the customer’s change in equipment or operations.

D. Meter Installation. The City has sole authority to determine the meter size and type installed based upon the amount and character of the customer’s water use. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.050 Bills and payment.

A. Billing Period. Bills for water service and special charges will be rendered monthly or bimonthly.

B. Bills for Less than Billing Cycle. For periods of service of less than a full billing cycle, fixed charges, such as capacity charges, shall be applied on a pro rata basis, and commodity charges shall be charged in full.

C. Payment of Bills.

1. Periodic bills are due and payable by the due date stated on the bill.

2. Closing bills are due and payable immediately upon closing of the account.

3. Mailed payments will not be credited until received by the City at the designated place of payment. If paid by a check that is not honored, payments will not be credited until the check or substitute therefor is honored.

4. When bills are delinquent, the City may demand that the full amount of both delinquent and current charges be paid in full.

5. A delinquent charge and any other applicable charges, as adopted by the City Council, shall be added to the amount of any bill not paid in full within 30 days of the original statement date. A customer’s water service may be discontinued for nonpayment of any delinquency charge.

D. Billing for Service to Multiple Units. Billing for service to multiple units through a single service is the responsibility of the applicant.

E. Customer’s Request for Service Discontinuance.

1. A customer may have water service discontinued by notifying the City at least one day in advance of the desired date of discontinuance except Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, and the customer will be required to pay all water charges accrued until the date of such discontinuance.

2. If notice of discontinuance is not given, the customer will be required to pay for water service until such time that the City has learned that the customer has vacated the premises or otherwise has discontinued service.

F. Payment of Bills – Multiple Service Locations.

1. A customer’s water service may be discontinued for failure to pay for water service previously furnished to the customer, regardless of the location at which the customer received the previous service. The City may refuse to furnish water at any location to such customer until all outstanding bills are paid, plus any applicable penalties and deposits.

2. If a customer receives water service at more than one location and the bill for service at any one location becomes delinquent, water service at all locations may be discontinued. Residential service, however, will not be discontinued for nonpayment of bills for other classes of service, such as commercial/industrial service. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.060 Reestablishment of service and deposits.

A. Reestablishment of Service. To reestablish service after service has been discontinued for nonpayment, a customer will be required to pay all amounts due from the customer, and any applicable deposits, as well as compliance with all terms and conditions of this chapter.

B. Deposits. The City may require a deposit as a condition of receiving water service, in an amount established by the City Manager or City Manager’s designee, in the following circumstances:

1. Metered Service. The amount required to establish credit for metered service, including any minimum, shall be determined by the City Manager or City Manager’s designee. Unless otherwise determined, the deposit amount shall be equal to twice the estimated average of the periodic charges, but not less than $25.00.

2. Temporary service.

3. Restoration of service after discontinuance of service.

4. Meter testing.

C. Unpaid Accounts. Deposits prescribed herein may be applied to unpaid bills for water service when such service has been discontinued. The City may require the customer to deposit a specified amount before providing water service again.

D. Refund or Disposition of Deposits. All deposits, less the amount of any unpaid water bills, will be refunded without interest, upon discontinuance of service. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.070 Meter testing.

A. Customer Request for Meter Testing.

1. A customer may submit a request for the City to test the customer’s meter, by giving not less than one week’s notice in writing of the request.

2. The City may require the customer to deposit an amount to cover the cost of the test.

3. This deposit will be returned to the customer if the meter is found to be registering fast, in excess of American Water Works Association Standards. The customer will be notified, not less than five days in advance, of the time and place of the test.

B. Adjustment of Bills for Meter Error.

1. Fast Meters. When a meter is tested and found to be registering in excess of American Water Works Association Standards, under conditions of normal operation, the City will refund to the customer the full amount of the overcharge based on corrected meter readings for the period that the meter was in use, not to exceed six months.

2. Slow Meters. When a meter used for residential or commercial service is tested and found to be registering slow, according to American Water Works Standards, the City may bill the customer for the amount of the undercharge based upon corrected meter readings for the period that the meter was in use, not to exceed six months.

3. Nonregistering Meters. The City may bill a customer for water consumed while the customer’s meter was not registering. The bill will include the fixed water capacity fee as well as an estimate of the customer’s consumption. Consumption will be estimated using an average of up to three years of the customer’s consumption during the same billing period, if available.

4. Undersized Meters. The City, in its sole discretion, and at the customer’s sole expense, may increase the size of a customer’s meter, or reduce the flow of water service to the customer, when the City determines that the customer’s meter is of insufficient size to accurately register the customer’s water usage, or to provide adequate water flow for approved residential fire sprinkler systems, as provided in PMC 15.24.070. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.080 Automatic fire service.

A. Purpose. An automatic fire service connection will be furnished for fire protection purposes only, and no other use shall be permitted from such a system. A fire service connection will only be permitted on premises receiving City water service. Connection size will be determined by the City, in accordance with applicable engineering standards.

B. Application. Applicant will be required to submit plans to safety services for approval prior to obtaining a fire service connection.

C. Installation Charges for Work by the City. The applicant will be required to provide a deposit in advance of the estimated cost of installing the service connection. Actual cost of the installation will be charged and the deposit credited to the applicant when installation is completed.

D. Fire Sprinkler Lateral Standards. A fire sprinkler lateral shall be constructed in accordance with the City’s standard specifications and drawings. The gate valve at the main is the point at which the City’s maintenance responsibility ends.

E. Pressure and Supply. The service is subject to the same conditions and limitations applicable to all City water service. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.090 Fire hydrant meters.

A. Installation Charge and Deposits. An applicant for a fire hydrant meter will be required to comply with all of the following conditions:

1. Completion of all applicable forms and agreements.

2. Payment to City for all applicable charges for installing and removing all facilities necessary to furnish such service.

3. Payment of a deposit, in an amount as established by the City Manager or City Manager’s designee, to be held by the City during the entire period such temporary service is used. Refund, without interest, will be the total amount of deposit less charges for meter loss or damage, closing water bill, and/or installation or removal of facilities.

B. Responsibility for Damages. The applicant shall be responsible for the cost of any damage or loss to the facilities, meter, meter fittings, or surrounding public improvements as a result of the applicant’s use of a fire hydrant meter.

C. It is unlawful for any person to operate the valve of any fire hydrant without City authorization, and compliance with all of the following requirements: (1) use of a City-issued hydrant meter; (2) use of an appropriate backflow device supplied by the customer; and (3) use of a spanner wrench designed for that purpose. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.100 Installation of service connections and meters.

A. General Rule. Services and meters shall be installed on a main fronting the parcel to be served. In the case of a parcel not fronting an existing main, the service and meter may be installed on an existing main that does not front the parcel if the City Engineer determines that the nonfronting main is the main from which the parcel should ultimately receive regular service; and provided, that all necessary easements have been acquired.

B. Temporary Service. In the case of a parcel not fronting an existing main, where the City Engineer has determined that the main from which the parcel should ultimately receive regular service does not currently exist but could be built in the future, an application for temporary service from an existing main not fronting the parcel may be approved at the discretion of the Director of Development Services.

As a condition of receiving temporary service from a main not fronting the parcel, the owner of the parcel, in addition to payment of all fees and charges applicable to regular service, must execute and acknowledge a recorded agreement providing for:

1. Installation and maintenance of a pipeline and other required facilities from the temporary meter to the owner’s parcel and acquisition of any required easements, all at owner’s expense;

2. Discontinuance of temporary service and application for regular service at an appropriate point closer to the owner’s parcel upon installation of a main that the City Engineer determines is the main from which the parcel should receive regular service;

3. Payment by the owner of the entire cost of relocation and any applicable connection charges, including a pro rata share of the cost of installation of such main and any service area charge, the total of which shall not be less than the City’s then-established connection fee and service area charge to others for such regular service; and

4. Such other matters as the City may reasonably require.

C. Location and Size. Upon receiving an application for any service connection, the City will furnish or authorize installation of a service connection, the size and location of which are within the City’s sole discretion. The service connection will be installed from the main to the curb line or property line of the parcel that abuts on a street or other thoroughfare, or on a City right-of-way.

D. Separate Service Required. All separate parcels requiring City water service shall have separate service.

E. Multiple Units.

1. Number of Services to Separate Premises. Separate premises will be supplied through separate service connections except as otherwise authorized by the City.

2. Service to Multiple Units. Separate houses, buildings, living, or business quarters on the same parcel or adjoining parcels, under single ownership, or management and control, may be served at the option of the City by either of the following methods:

a. Through separate service to each or any unit; provided, that the pipeline system to each service is independent of the others, and it is not interconnected.

b. Through a single service to the entire premises. In the event of the sale or separation of management and control of a portion of property subsequent to application for water service, the portion sold or separated will no longer be considered as premises entitled to water from this service connection.

F. Meters.

1. Water Service Required to Be Metered. All City water service is required to pass through a meter. It shall be unlawful for any person to use City water in any manner in which the water does not pass through a meter, or in circumstances where the meter is not functioning properly due to tampering or alteration.

2. Change in Location of Meters or Service Connections. Meters or service connections relocated for the convenience of the customer will be relocated at the customer’s expense. Meters or service connections relocated to protect the City’s property will be moved at City expense, except in the case of temporary service connections.

3. Changes in Size of Meter.

a. Reductions. The City will approve a reduction in meter size only when the customer’s water demand does not exceed the capacity of the reduced size meter. A reduction in meter size is subject to all applicable fee payments and credits in effect at the time of the reduction.

b. Increases. The City reserves the right and has the sole authority to replace any undersized meter with a larger meter when the customer’s water demand exceeds the capacity of the existing meter, or based on a change in the customer’s type of water use. The City’s determination regarding appropriate meter size shall be based on American Water Works Association standards. Replacement of an undersized meter shall be at the customer’s sole expense. Any increase in meter size shall be subject to full payment of all applicable fees and charges, including City capacity charges and San Diego County Water Authority connections fees, if any. Credit shall be given for any capacity or connection fees and charges previously paid. (Ord. 772 § 4, 2014)

13.11.110 New facilities.

A. General Policy. Except for facilities constructed by the City with the proceeds of bond funds or general funds, it is the policy of the City to require that new facilities be constructed at the expense of property owners or developers requesting service.

B. Extensions of Mains. All water main extensions within the public right-of-way shall be extended fully across the frontage of all parcels to be served. Where the boundary of the property or subdivision shall also be the boundary of the City, the pipeline may be terminated approximately five feet inside the last parcel.

C. Looping of Water Mains. Looping of water mains to eliminate dead-end water mains may be required as a condition of development, when the City Engineer determines that the looping is necessary for the purpose of improving water quality.

D. City Participation – Excess Sizing. Where the City requires construction of a pipeline greater in size than that required for service to the development, either within the development or off site, the City shall participate in the cost thereof in the following manner: The entire cost of such line must be initially provided by the developer, including the cost of survey, engineering, and right-of-way. The City will agree with the developer to refund to the developer, without interest and within five years from the City Council’s acceptance of such line, such amount as may be approved by the City Council. If the City participates in the cost of the line, the applicable connection fees shall be divided proportionately between the City and the installer.

E. Reimbursement Agreement. A property owner or developer constructing water system improvements that benefit other properties may be eligible to enter into a reimbursement agreement pursuant to Chapter 13.24 PMC.

F. Construction Agreement. All facilities shall be constructed under agreements containing such standard and special conditions, including the payment of City expenses and charges, as approved by the City Council.

G. Other Fees and Charges. By constructing facilities, the developer shall not be relieved of the obligation to pay all applicable connection, meter, and service installation, expansion, or other fees or charges approved by the City Council. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)

13.11.120 Water rates – Set by resolution.

Bimonthly water service charges and rates for residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers shall be established by resolution as may be adopted by the City Council from time to time, to be imposed on the water services provided as set forth in the resolution establishing such charges. (Ord. 784 § 4, 2016)

13.11.130 Prohibited acts.

A. It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to:

1. Make any unauthorized connection with any City water main or lateral for the purpose of obtaining water without authorization from the City.

2. Tamper with a meter so that water may be obtained without passing through the meter, or otherwise use City water in any manner in which the water does not pass through a meter.

3. Tamper with, alter, interfere with, or damage any meter so that it does not register correctly.

4. Break any lock or seal that has been placed over a shutoff valve, or restore water service without authorization from the City following discontinuance of service.

5. Damage or deface any meter or other apparatus or property of the City water system.

6. Place on, about, or around any water meter or hydrant any building material, rubbish, vegetation, or other obstruction so as to prevent free access to the same. For purposes of this section, “free access to a water meter” means the maintenance of two feet of clearance on all sides of the meter, and no obstructions above the meter. For purposes of this section, “free access to a hydrant” means the maintenance of three feet of clearance on all sides of the hydrant, and no obstructions above the hydrant.

7. Place any encroachment, including but not limited to any buildings, walls, fences, improvements, wells, pools, sewage treatment systems or leach fields, trees, shrubs, rubbish, vehicles, or other obstructions, on a City easement used for purposes of the water system or the provision of water service, without written City authorization.

8. Keep any dangerous dog or other animal at large in any enclosure containing a meter box or shutoff valve.

9. Interfere in any manner with any employee of the City in the performance of official duties.

10. Fail or refuse to admit, during reasonable hours, any authorized employee or agent of the City to any premises supplied with City water for a purpose related to the service of water to the premises.

11. Supply water to a person whose water service has been discontinued for nonpayment of bills, or for violation of any of the provisions of this chapter.

12. Open a hydrant or draw water from a hydrant or other water facility owned by the City without City authorization.

13. Obtain water from the City’s water system by theft or fraud.

14. Sale of City water to another person, except pursuant to a written agreement with the City.

B. Penalties.

1. Liability for Damage or Costs. Any damage to property of the City resulting from a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be charged to the person responsible for such damage as a part of the regular water bill. Any cost incurred by the City for removal of any obstructions or encroachments upon City equipment or City easements shall be charged to the person responsible for placement of the obstruction or encroachment.

2. Liability for Water Taken without Payment. In the case of any water taken without payment, it shall be presumed that a minimum of $1,000 worth of water was used. The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee shall have the discretion to increase or decrease the estimate of unauthorized use, based on the available evidence.

3. Discontinuance of Water Service. In the event of a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the City may discontinue the water service to the premises of the person, firm, or corporation responsible for the violation.

4. A violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a misdemeanor, as set forth in Chapter 1.08 PMC, and, in the alternative, shall be subject to civil and administrative penalties, as set forth in Chapters 1.08 and 1.10 PMC. (Ord. 697 § 2, 2009)