Fire Flow Program

Fire flow is the term firefighters use to describe how much water can be delivered by a water system through one or more hydrants to fight a fire at a specific location or to state the optimum amount (standard) of water flow firefighters require for a theoretical fire at a specific location. The former is determined by a pipe's size, pressure, and internal condition and the latter is based on standards developed over years of experience. To meet fire-flow standards, a water distribution system must deliver large amounts of water in a short period of time, whereas for daily use, water systems provide small amounts of water on a continuing basis.

A first-ever master plan for making fire flow improvements in central and southern Marin was begun following voter approval in 1996. Voters agreed to pay an annual $75 parcel fee for the next 15 years to raise $62 million as part of a $77 million effort to provide additional water flow for fighting fires and to help ensure the integrity of our water transmission system following a major earthquake.

In 2012 the MMWD Board of Directors approved extending the $75 annual fire flow fee for an additional 19 years (2012-2031). The fee will fund such water system improvements as the replacement of approximately 52 miles of inadequate pipe and seismic stabilization/retrofits at pump stations and pipe bridges.

We've been working to implement this plan with the help of fire officials, city managers, and public works directors. This team reports regularly to city and county elected officials, whose joint efforts led to development of the plan.

In addition to improving our ability to fight fires, we also have an aggressive fire prevention program on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed.

Note Regarding  Property Tax Bills

The district’s $75 fire flow fee is included on your property tax bill as shown in the example below:

MMWD - Fire Flow $75.00

Different fire districts in Marin County may or may not have specific fire-fighting or fire prevention fees. If you have questions about fire-related fees other than MMWD’s, please check with the fire district listed on your property tax bill.

If you received a separate tax bill from the State Board of Equalization for a $150 Cal Fire Prevention Fee, click here for that agency’s website. This fee is not related to MMWD’s fire flow fee.

Exemption from MMWD Fire Flow Fee

Please note: There is no exemption from the fire flow fee for seniors.

You may qualify for an exemption to the annual $75 fire flow fee if the value of your parcel is less than $10,000. To find out if your property is exempt, please email Cheryl Howlett in MMWD’s Finance Department or call 415-945-1401. Please have your parcel number available. If you are exempt, MMWD will notify the county, and they will send you a revised property tax bill.

You can also write to Cheryl Howlett at:
MMWD Finance Department
220 Nellen Ave.
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Note: Multiple contiguous parcels that have been combined by the County Assessor’s Office into one parcel qualify for an exemption on all but the one combined parcel. To request an Assessor Parcel Combination, contact the County Assessor's Office. Click here for more information from the county about combining parcels. A $150 fee is required to combine parcels.