Rates & Fees
Helix is a not-for-profit, local government agency formed in 1913. Unlike other governments, 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.
Proposed Water Rates
The board of directors will hold a public hearing on April 26, 2023 to consider an adjustment to water rates and charges. The hearing is at 5 p.m. in the Helix Boardroom, at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.
We will have a community meeting on April 12, 2023 to answer customer questions about the proposed rates. The meeting is at 6 p.m. in the Helix Boardroom, at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.
Current Water Rates
The rates shown below were approved by the Board of Directors and apply to water use on or after March 1, 2023.
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.
Charges effective May 1, 2022
≤ 3/4 inch
The variable charge is a unit charge for the amount of water used. One unit equals 748 gallons of water. This charge covers costs directly related to the amount of water used, such as purchases of imported water, treatment costs and pumping costs.
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 water budget, to pay for the increased cost of providing their water.
Charges are effective May 1, 2022.
|Customer Class||Unit Charge|
|Single-Family Residential: 0 to 12 Units||$5.56|
|Single-Family Residential: 13 to 26 Units||$5.91|
|Single-Family Residential: 27 + Units||$7.50|
|Commercial and Government||$5.99|
|Irrigation: up to 100% of the Budget||$6.28|
|Irrigation: 101% + of the Budget||$7.43|
Helix customers will see pass-through charges from the San Diego County Water Authority as separate line items on their water bill. Pass-through charges reflect decreases and increases in wholesale rates and other charges that the Water Authority imposes on Helix. We do not control the amount of these charges.
Pass-through charges are effective January 1 and will appear on water bills starting on March 1 of each year.
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.
2023 Fixed Charge
|< 5/8 inch|
|< 3/4 inch|
|Customer Class||2023 Variable 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.
Charges effective March 1, 2022
|Lateral Size||Fixed Charge|
Service Charges Effective January 1, 2023.
|Late Payment||10% of balance or $50 max|
|Same Day Service Call||$53|
|Pending Disconnection Notice||$16|
|After Hours Meter Unlock||$156|
|Shutoff for Backflow Noncompliance||$165|
|Unauthorized Water Use|
*Plus water theft penalties per the policies and procedures manual
|Meter Accuracy Test - Up to 1-Inch Meter||$249|
|Meter Accuracy Test - 1.5-Inch to 2-Inch Meter||$449|
|Meter Accuracy Test - 3-Inch and Larger Meter|
What Water Rates Pay For
At Helix Water District, every dollar collected from customer bills goes directly towards the cost of providing our customers with a clean and reliable source of water. Let's take a look at how those expenses break down.
Forty-five 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. Eleven percent covers water treatment and quality control costs, which ensure your water is safe to drink. Six 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. Two 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, including the computers and software for administration and customer service that keep 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 www.hwd.com.
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, and maintain all of that at a moment’s notice. It’s quite a complex process but 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 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 infrastructures. 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.