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.
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).
A property owner can purchase a new district-owned and maintained water meter for each additional unit. For each new meter, the owner pays the district to install a new water service from the water main to the property line or edge of easement. The owner hires a plumber or contractor to install a private water line from the private property side of the meter to the unit.
The district is responsible for reading each meter and billing each account separately. The district handles shutoff for nonpayment by tenants. The district is responsible for the long-term maintenance of the water service and water meter. The owner is responsible for the long-term maintenance of the water system on the private property side of the meter.
Please see the district’s Water Service Installation Process for information on the process to install a new water service and meter. The owner pays meter fees (including Water Meter Capacity Fees) for each new meter, in addition to the cost of installation of the water service.