Previous Ask EMWD! Questions and Answers that
have been featured in our monthly eConnect.
How do backflow prevention devices help with water quality?
EMWD works diligently to deliver
safe and reliable drinking water, an effort that begins with
protecting our water supply sources—such as groundwater wells—and
continues through the entire treatment and distribution process
until the water reaches the meter. However, some hazardous
conditions may exist on customer properties, which can risk our
safe drinking water supply.
Water systems are designed to have higher pressure than
customers’ property to keep water flowing in the right direction.
When there is a drop in water main pressure, a reverse flow—or
backflow—can occur. Backflow can happen if there is a water
main break or if there is significant changes in water pressure.
While single-family residences are not generally required to have
a backflow device, you can help prevent backflow contamination by
never leaving a hose submerged in unsafe water such as fertilizer
or cleaning solution; making sure irrigation has an anti-siphon
valve; and checking hose bibs for a vacuum breaker (most new
homes are equipped with anti-siphon faucets). You can learn more
about water quality and backflow prevention by visiting our
website at emwd.org/backflow.
How do I sign-up for paperless billing?
Paperless billing with eBill is an easy and convenient way to
access and store your monthly billing statements. View your
bill from any location, any time of day, from your smart phone,
tablet, or desktop computer. Follow the simple steps below
to activate eBill and start paperless billing:
1. Login at myaccount.emwd.org
3. Navigate to Account
4. Check eBill
If you haven’t created a MyAccount login you can activate
your service anytime by browsing
to myaccount.emwd.org and
selecting Register Now.
What conservation programs and rebates are available for
This is the year to give your landscaping an update to reduce
outdoor water use, save money and gain beautiful landscaping!
EMWD’s Landscape for Living program is here to help you get
started. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Hundreds of customers have
already received free landscaping evaluation, equipment and
From free weather-based irrigation controllers and high
efficiency sprinkler nozzles to landscape evaluations and $3 per
square foot turf replacement rebates—we have something for
All EMWD residential customers with irrigated landscapes—areas in
front and backyards currently being watered—are eligible to
receive services and rebates though the Landscapes for Living
Learn more about Landscapes for Living and get started, visit
I see water storage tanks on hillsides throughout the community.
What purpose do those serve?
EMWD has nearly 80 storage tanks throughout its service area, but
did you know their main role is different than most people
These tanks – which hold millions of gallons of water apiece –
are often nestled into hillsides and painted to blend in with
their surroundings. They are placed on hills at specifically
designed elevations to pressurize our water system, allowing you
to receive the right amount of water pressure delivered to your
home or business.
This is the same reason why many water tanks in flat areas, such
as the Midwest, are built on stilts – so there is enough gravity
to create the pressure needed for water delivery and use.
So the next time you pass by a hill and manage to spot one of our
tanks high above your community, you can be sure its doing its
job by helping to keep our system running as it should.
Submit your question at emwd.org/AskEMWD for a chance to have it
featured in a future monthly EMWD newsletter!
Can my HOA fine me for not watering my lawn during the drought?
During California’s previous drought, the State Water Resources
Control Board adopted regulations stating that Homeowners
Associations (HOA) could not issue fines during a state or
regional drought emergency, and those rules remain in place.
HOA’s are also not able to prohibit you from installing drought
tolerant landscaping as a way to save water, and also may not
require homeowners to pressure wash their homes or hardscapes
during a drought.
HOA’s can issue citations if your landscape is unkept, so while
you can let your lawn go brown, it is important to keep the
property free of weeds and well maintained.
EMWD is working with HOA’s throughout its service area to ensure
they are partners in water use efficiency as we all do our part
during this historic drought.
How do I qualify for EMWD’s water use efficiency rebates and
All EMWD residential customers with irrigated landscapes — areas
in front and backyards currently being watered — are eligible to
receive services and rebates.
EMWD will guide you through the rebate process, install equipment
for FREE and help you save money and water!
There are multiple ways to participate, whether it’s a free
landscape evaluation service, a free weather-based irrigation
controller, or free high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles. You can
choose one or all options to design front and backyards perfect
Visit our Landscapes for Living website at landscapesforliving.emwd.org.
How do I enroll in the turf replacement program?
Removing turf grass is one of the most water saving adjustments a
homeowner can make to reduce their water usage and associated
EMWD customers are
eligible for a rebate of $3.00 per square foot up to 5,000
square feet through The Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California (MWD) Turf Replacement program—$2.00 from MWD and an
additional $1.00 from EMWD.
The program is a two-part application process. In order to
receive a rebate, you must first apply to reserve rebate funds
prior to starting your project. After the reservation, you will
have 180 days to complete the project and submit your request for
Items to have ready before applying: 1) A copy of your recent
water bill, 2) At least five color photos of the area where you
plan to remove turf, 3) A simple landscape plan that shows the
area to be transformed and location of your stormwater retention
feature, i.e. rain garden, rain barrel, etc.
Please note, approval of rebate applications are on a first-come,
first-serve basis and subject to funding availability. Submitting
a reservation request or application does not guarantee approval
Help offset the costs of removing and replacing your front or
backyard lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping by visiting
Why are new homes being built when California is experiencing
such a serious drought?
EMWD is not a land use agency. Our responsibility is to supply
water to developments approved per County and City general plans.
In recent years, regulations were expanded to require new
construction to have more efficient plumbing and landscaping.
EMWD makes sure these standards are met by allocating water
budgets that are up to 30 percent lower than older homes and
New developments also pay a Financial Participation Charge (FPC)
to fund development of new water supply sources to meet their own
needs. Infrastructure expansion projects such as our new Perris
II Desalination complex are funded in-part by FPC’s.
By creating new local water supply sources, new development is
not “taking” from existing homes and businesses but helping to
expand our local supplies and reduce our reliance on imported
Learn more at
Q: I want to get rid of my grass lawn. Where do I begin?
This is a great question, and a great way to save water!
EMWD customers can receive up to $3 per square foot through
rebate programs through
SoCalWaterSmart.com. Customers should apply for the program
before removing their grass.
From there, EMWD’s
Landscapes for Living link on
www.emwd.org has a variety of tools available to help you
create a beautiful, water-saving landscape at your home!
Q: What are schools and parks doing to help save water?
A: Schools and parks across EMWD’s service area are
among the most forward-thinking when it comes to being efficient
EMWD has worked with both schools and public parks so that many
of those facilities are using recycled water to irrigate their
fields. This reduces their demands on our drinking water supplies
and also provides significant cost savings for them.
Approximately 35 percent of EMWD’s overall water supply is met
through recycled water. EMWD currently has 27 schools and 76
parks in its service area using recycled water. Recycled water is
also not subject to the same restrictions during the drought as
potable water, so these facilities can remain green so our
families have a place to recreate.
Q: How Much Does a Gallon of Water Cost from EMWD?
A: Savvy the Water Drop doesn’t need to break out her
abacus to know that EMWD tap water is a great value for our
Based on Tier 1 pricing, one billing unit — which is 748 gallons
— is $1.14 cents in most areas served by EMWD. That means a
single gallon comes out to approximately $0.0015, or about six
gallons per penny!
EMWD tap water remains an excellent value, especially compared to
other things like the cost of gas or even bottled water, which is
the item with the highest markup at grocery stores.
So the next time you are looking to save money, be sure to enjoy
a glass of safe and reliable tap water from EMWD!
Q: Does EMWD test for PFAS?
A: Yes, PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkytl Substances)
are among the more than 155 contaminants and impurities that EMWD
tests for in its water supplies.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid
(PFOS) are chemicals that are resistant to heat, water and oil
and have been used for decades in hundreds of consumer products
and industrial applications. As a result, these chemicals are
often found in the environment.
Although PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the United
States, many products that contain the chemicals still exist,
such as cosmetics, food packaging, clothing and furniture
fabrics. In addition, other countries still make products
containing these chemicals, which may be imported into the United
EMWD’s state-certified labratory conducts more than 45,000 water
quality tests each year to ensure that we are delivering a safe
drinking water supply to your home and businesses. This includes
testing for PFAS.
To learn more about EMWD’s water quality, check out our most
recent Consumer Confidence Report here.
Q: Why is it important to not put fats, oils and grease
down the drain?
A: Avoiding putting fats, oils and grease (FOG) down
the drain can make a major difference in helping to protect your
When FOG is poured down the drain, it hardens and can block sewer
lines on your property or in the main sewer system. This can
cause sewer lines to break or cause backups in the sewer system,
which can overflow.
EMWD encourages you to safely dispose of FOG to do your part to
be Sewer Smart. This can be done by placing it in a jar or piece
of tin foil and then throwing it in the trash.
EMWD appreciates your help in keeping your sewer system healthy!
Q: Is it okay to guide rainwater to a water saving device
and use it for landscape irrigation?
A: Not only is it acceptable, it is encouraged!
Rain barrels are a great way to collect water from your gutters
and use it to help water your plants at a later time. In fact,
there are rebate programs to help you pay for rain barrels or
To learn more about the rebates available for rain barrels,
please visit www.socalwatersmart.com. You may also learn about
other rebate programs available through EMWD at our Landscapes
for Living page.
Q: I received an advertisement for water line insurance. Is
this something I need?
A: EMWD is aware that for-profit companies are sending
solicitations for water line insurance. Often times, these
advertisements are designed to look like they came from a water
utility. These companies are not affiliated with EMWD in any
strongly encourages customers to do their due diligence on
these companies. Many times, existing homeowners insurance
policies will provide coverage if a water line breaks on the
customers’ side of the meter.
At EMWD, our recommendation is for homeowners to do their
research on a company’s business practices to determine what they
feel is best for them.
Q: What are those EMWD mascots that are on the eConnect
A: EMWD has two mascots: Savvy the Water Drop and
Patrick the Poo.
The two characters are from EMWD’s award-winning series of
classroom education books and Sewer Smart video series, and help
both children and adults learn about water, wastewater and
recycled water issues.
Patrick the Poo has been featured prominently in a series of
videos on EMWD’s social media platforms to help customers learn
how they can protect our sewer system by being Sewer Smart. Savvy
the Water Drop helps teach about your water supply and how to be
EMWD is proud of its industry-leading education program and
finding new and creative way to engage audiences of all ages,
including through the use of Savvy and Patrick!
Q: Can I convert my current irrigation system to use
A: EMWD is a leading advocate for the use of recycled
water, and it is exciting that our customers also embrace those
Because of state regulations that require annual testing of
recycled water systems to ensure public safety, it would be very
challenging to have thousands of residential homes requiring
those tests every year. Additionally, a secondary distribution
system would have to be constructed to deliver recycled water to
Because of the cost and permitting challenges associated with
this, recycled water is typically used by large landscape
customers such as agriculture, schools, parks and other public
landscaping. Those customers combine to use 100 percent of EMWD’s
available recycled water supply during normal years.
As our service area continues to grow, EMWD will keep looking for
ways to use all of its available recycled water supply in the
most cost-effective manner while also ensuring it meets the
Q: What is EMWD doing to ensure our water is safe and
A: Ensuring you have a safe and clean water supply is
a top priority at EMWD.
Each year, EMWD conducts more than 45,000 water quality tests,
which tests for more than 155 contaminants and impurities. EMWD
conducts these tests on a daily basis at its state-certified
EMWD also invests in state-of-the-art treatment processes to help
clean your drinking water before it enters our distribution
system to be delivered to your home or business.
You can learn more about your drinking water quality by viewing
our annual Consumer Confidence Report by
Q: Is the funding for redoing landscaping to be more water
EMWD customers are eligible to receive funding to help offset the
costs of removing grass from their front or rear lawns and
replacing it with drought-tolerant landscaping. The Metropolitan
Water District of Southern California is currently offering $2
per square foot and EMWD customers are eligible for an additional
$1 per square foot.
Customers may visit EMWD’s Landscapes for Living to view
available rebate programs, sample landscape plans, and find a
licensed contractor that has completed a specialized training
program through EMWD.
Q: Is my sewer charge based on water usage?
A: EMWD sewer service charges are based on the number
of people living in the household to be more representative of
the amount of water contributed to the sewer system.
Block sewer rates are designed to be more fair and equitable to
customers and are revenue-neutral to EMWD.
Customers in smaller households (1-2 people) pay 60-percent of
the standard rate. Households with 3-4 people pay the standard
rate; those with 5-6 people pay 125-percent of the standard rate;
and households with 7 or more residents pay 170-percent of the
Customers may learn more about their wastewater charges by
visiting EMWD’s website
Q: Is Recycled Water being used to replenish EMWD’s
A: While EMWD does not currently use recycled water to
replenish its local groundwater basins, it is currently designing
an advanced water purification facility to be able to implement
this technology soon. Purified Water Replenishment would start
with recycled water and purify it using a multi-stage process of
microfiltration and reverse osmosis.
The purified water could then be blended with additional treated
water before being pumped into replenishment basins, where it
would go through a natural purification process, which takes at
least six months to filter through the ground. The water pumped
would then go through one final cleaning step before it would be
sent to homes and businesses.
The first phase of this proposed program would provide enough
groundwater replenishment to serve up to 10,000 homes annually.
To learn more about EMWD’s proposed program, please visit our
Groundwater Reliability Plus page on our