Chapter 16.11


16.11.010    Application for service account.

16.11.020    Account classification.

16.11.030    Account notices.

16.11.040    Account billing.

16.11.050    Meter reading and testing.

16.11.060    Suspension/discontinuance of service.

16.11.070    Service restoration.


(a)    Application. Each applicant desiring to initiate service whether anew or after service has been discontinued by the department or the customer, or to change an existing water service must make application to the city water department on forms provided by the department, provide required information, pay required fees, and meet the conditions set forth in these municipal codes and in the city standard specifications, water department standard specifications or other applicable policies and procedures approved by the city council or the director. The application for service shall indicate the applicant’s willingness and intention to comply with all applicable regulations and policies and to make payment for water services rendered. Applicants for a commercial account inside the city of Santa Cruz must present proof they have obtained a city business license.

(b)    Payment for Previous Service. An application for service will not be accepted unless payment in full has been made for all utility services previously rendered to the applicant by the city, and all taxes, fees or assessments previously rendered to or levied on the applicant by the city.

(c)    Deposits. Before receiving services, applicants with a prior history of late or nonpayment to the water department shall be required to establish credit by depositing with the water department an amount of money equal to the estimated cost of providing utility services, including, but not limited to, an average periodic bill and the expense of providing materials and equipment to initiate service.

(d)    Incorrect or Withdrawn Application. The applicant is responsible for the expenditures made by the department as a result of the submission of the application, even if the applicant incorrectly describes the location where water service is desired or withdraws the application prior to the initiation of water service.

(e)    Change of Account Holder Without Application. A person taking possession of property and using water from an active connection without having made application for utility service shall be liable for the services delivered from the date of the last recorded meter reading. If application for utility service is not made upon notification by the department, and if bills for service from the date of the last recorded meter reading are not paid promptly upon receipt of notice, the service may be denied or discontinued without further notice.

(Ord. 2016-06 § 4 (part), 2016).


Each water account shall be classified as follows based on the customer’s ownership or occupation of the following types of property served by the water department:

(a)    Single-Family Residential. Individually metered residential dwelling units, regardless of housing type.

(b)    Multiple-Family Residential. Any residential account with more than one residential dwelling unit served by one water meter, regardless of housing type.

(c)    Business. Commercial establishments including restaurants, hotel/motel, retail, medical, schools, offices, churches and mixed-use buildings. This category also includes county and state government accounts.

(d)    Industry/UCSC. This category is comprised of one primary customer, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a small number of manufacturing businesses.

(e)    Municipal. This category is comprised of city-owned and operated facilities such as city offices, parks, police and fire stations, water and wastewater treatment plants, street medians, and parking lots.

(f)    Irrigation. Dedicated water services for landscape irrigation associated with large multiple residential complexes and homeowners associations, or with commercial, industrial, and institutional sites, including schools, churches, and parks.

(g)    Golf Irrigation. Accounts serving golf courses in the water service area.

(h)    Coast Irrigation. Agricultural accounts receiving untreated water on the north coast.

(i)    Miscellaneous. Other uses such as temporary construction accounts, hydrant meters, and bulk water sales.

(Ord. 2016-06 § 4 (part), 2016).


(a)    Notice to Account Holders. Notices from the water department to an account holder will be given in writing, and delivered in person, electronically, or mailed to the account holder’s address. Where conditions warrant and in emergencies, the water department may use other means of notification.

(b)    Change of Information. It is the responsibility of the account holder to notify the department of any change of customer name, address or other contact information.

(c)    Notice to Customers. When a notice to an account holder involves an interruption to service or water quality issue, it is the responsibility of the account holder to inform customers that may be affected.

(d)    Notices from Customers. Notice from the customer to the water department may be given by the customer orally or in writing:

(1)    At the water department’s office;

(2)    To an employee of the water department; or

(3)    To an agent duly authorized to deliver notices or complaints.

(Ord. 2016-06 § 4 (part), 2016).


(a)    Frequency. The regular billing period will be monthly or bimonthly as established by the director.

(b)    Opening and Closing. Opening and closing bills for less than the normal billing period shall be prorated for all rates, fees and charges.

(c)    Date Due. The rates, fees and charges provided for by this chapter shall be due and payable upon presentation of the bill in accordance with Chapter 16.13. Bills shall be considered delinquent, and penalties shall apply pursuant to Section 16.13.040, after the date for payment set forth in a billing statement.

(d)    Equivalent Capacity. Accounts shall be billed in accordance with the equivalent capacity assigned to the account regardless of the number or size of physical meters associated with the account.

(e)    Application of Deposit. A deposit shall be applied to the account after the account has been without any late charges for one twelve-month period; or returned to the customer upon closure of the account after the closing balance has been paid.

(f)    Failure to Receive a Bill. Failure to receive a bill does not relieve a customer of liability for payment.

(g)    Account Type. Account type, as defined by Section 16.11.020, shall be assigned by the department.

(h)    Billing Changes. Changes to the account that effect service charges shall be made at the start of the next billing period. Billing changes to current or previous service periods will be made at the sole discretion of the director.

(Ord. 2016-06 § 4 (part), 2016).


(a)    Reading. Meters will be read as nearly as possible on the same day of each month. When the time between meter reads is less than twenty-seven days or more than thirty-three days, bills will be prorated according to department procedures.

(b)    Testing. All meters will be tested prior to installation and no meter will be installed which does not meet department standards. The water department shall maintain a procedure for the testing of meter accuracy at the request of the account holder. Fees and charges for meter testing shall be as established by resolution of city council.

(c)    Meter Not Registering. If a meter is found to be under-registering or not registering water use due to a malfunction or other disablement, the charges for service shall be based on the estimated consumption. Such estimates shall be made from previous consumption records for a comparable time period. Should the subsequent reading indicate that the estimate is materially in error, an adjustment shall be made in the subsequent bill.

(d)    Meter Cannot Be Read. If a meter in working condition cannot be read, the charges for service shall be based on the estimated consumption. Such estimates shall be made from previous consumption records for a comparable time period.

(Ord. 2016-06 § 4 (part), 2016).


(a)    Suspension. In addition to service connection determinations described elsewhere in this chapter, water service may be suspended by the department to any property where any of the following conditions apply:

(1)    Apparatus or appliances are in use which may endanger water facilities or public health.

(2)    There exists a cross-connection.

(3)    The department determines that conditions at the property could jeopardize the safety and reliability of the water service system.

(4)    Plumbing on the property is found defective or leaking.

(5)    It is necessary to protect the city against fraud practiced by a customer.

(6)    A service bill has not been paid.

a.    Prior to such water service shutoff, the customer shall be mailed a final notice informing him or her that the shutoff will be enforced if payment is not made within the time specified in the notice. The final notice shall be given, and the noticed date of shutoff shall be calculated, in accordance with the applicable provisions of Division 5, Chapter 1, Section 10010.1 of the California Public Utilities Code.

(7)    Violation of private fire protection regulations set forth in Section 16.04.050(h).

(8)    Applicable statutes, regulations and/or policies have been violated.

(b)    Discontinuance. Account holders desiring to discontinue service shall notify the water department at least two business days prior to the desired date of discontinued service. Unless the account is closed or transferred to another responsible party in accordance with department policies and procedures, the account holder of record shall be liable for charges due or that become due whether or not any water is used. It shall be the account holder’s responsibility to obtain confirmation of the disconnection order from the department.

(Ord. 2016-06 § 4 (part), 2016).


Where service has been suspended for violation of applicable statutes, regulations, and/or policies or for nonpayment of bills, the water department will impose a charge for restoration of service and/or to install or remove a meter in accordance with the fee schedule established by resolution of the city council.

(Ord. 2016-06 § 4 (part), 2016).