What if you have a property with one meter serving multiple units, and you want to charge each unit for its actual water use? You have two options.

Diagram - Standard Meter - shows how one meter measures water use for two homes on a single property

Diagram - Private Submetering - when owner installs their own meters

Private submetering is the metering of water to multiple units that has first been metered by the district. The district-maintained meter is referred to as the “master meter”. A property owner can hire a contractor or plumber to install private submeters for each unit – see the submetering diagram above. The water system on the private property side of the master meter, including the submeters, is installed, owned, and maintained by the property owner.

The owner is responsible for reading the submeters and billing tenants accordingly. The district continues to read and bill for the master meter, and the owner is responsible for payment for the master meter, regardless of nonpayment by tenants. The owner is responsible for all long-term maintenance of the submeters.

A property owner must complete the district’s Submeter Application and submit to the District prior to installing submeters. Drop off or mail the application to 7811 University Ave, La Mesa CA 91942 (Attn: Planning Department). Because submeters are part of the privately owned water system, there are no other district fees or processes involved.

Submetering is only allowed within one legal lot, and the owner is responsible for billing tenants in accordance with state law. For more information, please see Section 2.13 Submetering for Developments in the Policies and Procedures Manual - Effective May 1, 2023 (PDF).

Apply for a Submeter (PDF)