Water Rates

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At their meeting on October 4, 2023, the City Council of the City of Sonoma adopted a resolution increasing water rates for fiscal years 2023-2024 through 2028-2029. The new rates went into effect on December 1, 2023.


The key cost Issues resulting in the new Water Rates include:

  • A court decision that cities can no longer use tiered rates to encourage conservation - tiered rates must be tied directly to the actual cost of services;
  • Increases in the cost of water purchased from the Sonoma County Water Agency;
  • Infrastructure improvements including replacing water main pipes that are approximately 50 years old and the pipes feeding key fire hydrants in portions of town that are not sized appropriately;
  • Investment in new meters that will provide real time information regarding water use to help in conservation and early detection of water leaks;
  • Increasing Water Fund reserves to ensure there are sufficient resources for the City’s water system in the event of natural disasters such as fires or earthquakes, as well as future droughts.

Sonoma City Council received a presentation about the Water Rate Study at thier special meeting on July 19th. Notices concerning proposed water rate increases were mailed to City water customers and property owners in mid-August.  A public hearing was held on October 4, 2023, to consider the proposed increases in the City’s rates and charges for water service.

For additional information please visit our 2023 Water Rate Study page. 

Water Connection Charges

Updated Water Connection Charges were approved by the City Council on December 16, 2019 as Resolution #76-2019.   A summary of the study used to set these charges can be found under the staff report .

These charges are summarized as follows:

Water Capacity Charge

The capacity charge applies to all customer classes and meters based on meter size. These rates are based on capacity charge calculations , using the Replacement Cost Less Depreciation methodology for calculating the value of assets. There is no capacity charge for “fire service only” meters.

Capacity Charges Chart

Meter Charge
The water meter shall be furnished and installed by the City. Applicant shall pay a meter charge for the meter and installation cost of materials, labor and equipment plus an administrative charge as determined by the City at the time of installation.

The applicant shall make arrangements for an underground contractor licensed by the State of California to install the lateral and meter box and other appurtenant and required equipment and devices (such as a backflow prevention device if required by the City). The lateral shall be installed to meet City standards and shall extend from the water main to the meter. The size and materials used shall be approved by the City. The lateral shall terminate in a meter box at a location approved by the City.

 Front Foot Charge

The applicant may be required to pay a front foot charge as determined by the City. This will allow a case-by-case determination of the front foot charge as an amount to reimburse the City or a previous applicant who extended a City water main along the frontage for a fair share of a new water main extension. In most cases, there will be no front foot charge.

 Annual Adjustments
Water capacity charges may be adjusted annually effective each January 1st by the Engineering News Record (ENR) Construction Cost Index for the San Francisco Bay Area annual percent change from July to July averaged over the three prior years. Alternatively, water capacity charges may be adjusted periodically by resolution based on updates to the water asset inventory.

 All Other Charges

All other rates, charges, fees, penalties, etc. shall be based on Resolution No. 58-2018 and Resolution No. 56-2014 until updated by subsequent action.

Additional Resources

City of Sonoma Water Rates

City of Sonoma Municipal Code.

For more information about the City of Sonoma Water Supply and Distribution System, please visit the Water Division page.

Water Rates Documents

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