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Commercial, Institutional and Industrial Water Budgets and Rates


After years of analyzing data and water use patterns, EMWD established water budgets and tiered rates for most commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) customers.

The rate structure is similar to one that has been used for EMWD’s residential and landscape customers for almost a decade. Individualized water budgets, coupled with tiered rates, are an effective tool for encouraging water use efficiency.

Information on Approved Rates and Fees for 2024 and 2025.

Water budgets for non-residential customers are based on industry-standard methodology, which considers factors such as the type of business, historical average use and amount of irrigated landscaping. For example, a small office building would be expected to have lower demand than a horse farm.

  Indoor Budget Factors Outdoor Budget Factors
Church or Library Average indoor usage
(80% of indoor and outdoor)
Landscape x ET factor x Conservation factor
(if applicable)
Mortuaries/Cemeteries Average indoor usage
(80% of average indoor and outdoor)
Landscape x ET factor x Conservation factor
(if applicable)
Office Buildings Average indoor usage
(80% of indoor and outdoor)
Landscape x ET factor x Conservation factor
(if applicable)
Schools 5 gallons per student per day Landscape x ET factor x Conservation factor
(if applicable)
Ag-Horse Farm 55 gallons per person per day Landscape x ET factor x Conservation factor
(if applicable)
Looped Landscape Only N/A Landscape x ET factor x Conservation factor
(if applicable; proportioned to each meter based on past usage)

Water budgets are designed to give customers the water they need for efficient use indoors and out, and they help customers understand what is reasonable water usage. Customers who stay within their budget pay the lowest rates for water, but those who exceed it fall into the upper, more expensive price tiers.

Under the tiered rate system, total water budget is covered in Tier 1. Tier 2 and Tier 3 rates cover any usage in excess of the total budget.

Tier 1 = budgeted supply; tier 2 = exceeding budget by 101 to 150%; tier 3 = exceeds budget by more than 150%.

EMWD aligns the Conservation Factor (CF) for all outdoor water budgets to reflect water efficiency trends for landscapes. A landscape with less grass and more low-water landscaping along with more efficient irrigation systems would have a lower CF. When the CF decreases, so does the percentage of evapotranspiration (ET)—the varying amount of irrigation needed to keep plants alive, based on climate. When water budgets were implemented, landscapes were assigned a CF as follows:

Please note: 

  • Nonfunctional* landscape areas installed before June 1, 2015 would be 70 percent of the evapotranspiration (ET) rate, the measure of irrigation needs based on rainfall, temperature and other climate factors.**
  • Nonfunctional* landscape areas installed after June 1, 2015, were assigned a 50 percent CF for the ET rate. 
  • Functional* landscape areas would be 100 percent of the ET.

* Functional landscape areas include turf as a surface for recreation and sports fields. All other landscape areas are considered nonfunctional.

** In May 2022, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) passed a prohibition of potable water irrigation of nonfunctional turf for all Commercial, Institutional and Industrial customers unless the nonfunctional turf is on a shared irrigation device with trees or other perennial non-turf plants, the nonfunctional turf is certified as a low water use variation meeting certain requirements, or the landscape is irrigated with recycled water. Functional turf such as parks, sports fields, and other turf used for recreation are exempt. To enforce the State Board order, EMWD reassigned all eligible nonfunctional landscape areas from 70 percent CF to 50 percent CF effective December 1, 2022.

To continue to reflect water use efficiency trends for landscapes, EMWD proposed and approved to permanently reassign all nonfunctional turf landscape areas as described in the paragraph above to remain at 50 percent of the ET rate, effective July 1, 2023.