Rates and fees

Helix is a not-for-profit, local government agency formed in 1913. Unlike other government, we are not funded by taxes. We charge fees to recover the cost of the services we provide, and state law prohibits us from collecting a penny more. 

Water Rates

The rates shown below were approved by the Board of Directors on April 28, 2021 and will apply to water use on or after May 1, 2021 and  May 1, 2022.

Use our calculator to estimate your water bill

Review Cost of Service Study on which our rates are based

See presentation from April 8, 2022 community meeting

Fixed charge

The bimonthly fixed charge covers costs that do not change based on the amount of water used, such as capital projects, transmission, distribution, meters and service. The fee is prorated on a daily basis on a customer’s first and final bills.

Meter SizeEffective 5/1/21Effective 5/1/22
1. 5"$161.15$170.02

Variable charge

The variable charge is a unit charge for the amount of water used. One unit equals 748 gallons of water. The variable charge covers expenses such as purchased water, treatment, pumping and other costs that connect directly to the amount of water used. Helix uses a tiered rate structure for Single-Family Residential customers that charges a higher rate to those who use more water, ensuring that higher costs associated with increased water use are paid for by those consuming the most water. Irrigation customers are also charged a higher rate when they exceed their budget to pay for the increased cost of providing their water.

Customer ClassEffective 5/1/21Effective 5/1/22
Single-Family Residential
Current Tiers
0-12 units$5.27$5.56
13-26 units$5.60$5.91
27+ units$7.10$7.50
Multi-Family Residential$5.60$5.91
Irrigation: up to 100% of Budget$5.95$6.28
Irrigation: 101%+ of Budget$7.04$7.43

Pass-through charges

Starting March 1, 2023, Helix Water District customers will see pass-through charges from the San Diego County Water Authority as separate line-items on their water bill. These charges are for water use starting January 1, 2023.  Pass-through charges reflect decreases and increases to wholesale rates and other charges that the Water Authority imposes on Helix, and we do not control the amount of these charges.

Please note: These are not new charges for water service. This is just the first time we have displayed them separately from Helix Water District charges, and we are doing so to help customers better understand the cost of water.

Please note: The pass-through charge on our Fixed Charge is negative, because the Water Authority reduced Helix’s allocation of the Water Authority’s own fixed charges.

Fixed Charge

Meter SizeEffective 1/1/22Effective 1/1/23
1. 5"-$1.80-$2.08

Variable Charge

Customer ClassEffective 1/1/22Effective 1/1/23
All Classes$0.22$0.43

Dedicated fire line charge

The bimonthly dedicated fire line charge is a fixed charge that covers the cost of providing
water system fire flow capacity and maintenance. These charges only apply to properties on
which a fire service lateral has been installed.

Lateral SizeEffective 5/1/21Effective 5/1/22

Service charges

ServiceEffective 1/1/22
Late Payment 10% of balance / $50 max.
Returned Payment$36
Service Call$28
Same Day Service Call$51
48 Hour Notice of Shutoff$16
Shutoff ($28)+ Meter Unlock ($28)$56
Same Day Meter Unlock$51
After Hours Meter Unlock$149
Broken Lock Only$6
Meter Reinstatement$123
Unauthorized Water Use ($161) and 1st Meter Tampering Violation ($130)$291
Unauthorized Water Use ($161) and 2nd Meter Tampering Violation (Same Year) ($700)$861
Unauthorized Water Use ($161) and 3rd Meter Tampering Violation (Same Year) ($1,300)$1,461
Unauthorized Water Use (Fire Hydrant, Private Fire Line, Backflow Assembly) 1st Violation$1,000
Unauthorized Water Use (Fire Hydrant, Private Fire Line, Backflow Assembly) 2nd Violation (Same Year)$2,000
Unauthorized Water Use (Fire Hydrant, Private Fire Line, Backflow Assembly) 3rd Violation (Same Year)$3,000
Backflow Noncompliance Shutoff$155
Meter Accuracy Test - Up to 1" Meter$237
Meter Accuracy Test - 1.5" to 2" Meter$427
Meter Accuracy Test - 3" and Larger MeterField Estimate

What You Pay For

Video Transcript: Where Does My Money Go?

At Helix Water District, every dollar collected from customer bills, goes directly towards the costs of providing our customers with a clean and reliable source of water.

Let’s take a look at how those expenses break down.

Forty-three percent of each bill covers the cost of purchasing imported water. That’s just about half of every dollar that we spend.

Thirteen percent covers the operating and maintenance costs that keep our water delivery and treatment systems up and running.

Twelve percent funds capital projects such as pipeline replacements, tank retrofits and expenses to buy equipment.

Nine percent covers water treatment and quality control costs, which ensure your water is safe to drink.

Nine percent covers administrative expenses needed to run the district.

Three percent covers engineering costs. This allows the district to design and make improvements to our water treatment and delivery systems.

Three percent covers meter reading, billing and customer service expenses, so when you have a question or need some help, Helix is there for you.

Three percent pays for information technology, the computers and software behind our water systems, administration and customer service.  IT keeps us running.

Three percent covers energy costs to treat and pump water, and the electricity used to operate district facilities.

Two percent repays bonds and other debt.

And not one penny goes towards profits.  Helix is a not-for-profit agency.

For more details, visit hwd.com


Video Transcript: Understanding the Delivery System

We don’t necessarily understand or see the inner workings of water delivery from the source water to your tap. We all too often take that process for granted.

It’s more complicated than you actually might think.  Our water comes from several sources: 1) in the Colorado River; 2) up in northern California from the state water project; 3) from desalinated water in Carlsbad; and 4) we’re blessed here in the Helix Water District to have several reservoirs and a treatment plant.

We’re very fortunate in that we own Lake Cuyamaca up in the foothills in the Lagunas, and when we do get rain in the area, we take advantage of that.  We capture the water in Lake Cuyamaca, run it down into Lake El Capitan where we share rights with the city of San Diego, and from there we draw water into our treatment plant.

So when the water falls from the sky, we’re actually able to treat that water and put it through our distribution system through our pump stations, and our pipes, and our treatment systems right to your tap.  

The water delivery system is quite complex.  It starts from your raw water coming into the system through major transmission lines.  Those transmission lines feed into our treatment facility.  The water is treated to an incredibly high level that meets and or exceeds oftentimes, state and federal mandates.  From there it goes through a series of pump stations to feed up to pump water reservoirs or tanks, the stuff that you see in your community, the big steel structures, and then from there the water gravity feeds to the actual houses.  And I like to kind of compare that to somebody’s individual irrigation system where if we have a sprinkler system watering your plants, there’s a lot just involved in maintaining and repairing those things.  So this water system is on a much larger scale, 733 miles with a wide variety of materials.  So we have to be prepared to really respond, assess, maintain all of that in a moment’s notice.  It’s quite a complex process but we, we love what we do.

Our pipeline is distributed throughout the neighborhoods.  Our pump stations make sure those pipelines are always under pressure.  The tanks make sure we always have adequate supply and can and serve our customers, and every customer has a small pipeline that’s tapped to our mains in the streets.  So when you open your faucet you’re always receiving water, really from our tanks and distribution system.  

The Helix Water District is a, is a large agency.  We serve over 270,000 customers, you know through 56,000 connections.  We have a lot of infrastructure.  The infrastructure in today’s dollar amounts to about $1.6 billion.  We have over 700 miles of pipelines, 25 tanks, 25 pump stations, and about 56,000 services that we feed.

As public servants, our job is to make sure that your water is delivered.  As part of that goal, you never know we’re here and that means we’re doing a great job.


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