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AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) is the latest in metering technology used by water agencies across the United States and internationally to provide more accurate, up-to-the-moment water use information.
In contrast to MMWD’s standard meters which are typically read every two months, AMI systems automatically provide more frequent reads. This enhances our ability to detect leaks and provide customer support, while also making it easier for customers to manage their water use and their water bill. AMI can also help protect water quality by detecting reverse flows on a water meter and alerting district staff of potential backflow contamination.
MMWD’s AMI Pilot Project—funded by over $2 million in grants from the California Department of Water Resources—is installing AMI endpoints in multiple phases. The first began in early 2018, with the installation of AMI endpoints at 710 dedicated irrigation meters throughout our service area. These are primarily large landscape customers (parks, golf courses, HOAs, schools, businesses) who can benefit from being able to easily monitor irrigation water use at multiple locations.
The second phase of the project, also completed in 2018, included 1,250 select households in the Tiburon-Belvedere area. This area was chosen for the pilot because it offers a good mix of concentrated customers and topography to allow us to evaluate the benefits of AMI for residential customers.
The next phases of the project will be rolled out in 2020 and cover installation of an additional 2,000 residential meters throughout our service area.
For the pilot project, we selected neighborhoods based on a variety of factors including topography, water pressure zones, distribution system age and potential for leaks, and landscape size. By including a cross section of different neighborhoods in the pilot project, we’ll be better able to evaluate the benefits of AMI for our customers.
No, there is no charge for either the AMI technology or the EyeOnWater app.
Yes, AMI is as safe as cell phones, laptops, bluetooth devices and similar equipment. The AMI technology MMWD is installing transmits water use data once per day via cellular signal from your water meter box. The signal strength is equivalent to sending a text message.
Yes, AMI is as safe as cell phones, laptops, bluetooth devices and similar equipment. The AMI technology MMWD is installing transmits water use data up to four times per day via cellular signal from your water meter box. The signal strength is equivalent to sending a text message.
In addition to the cellular signal, the endpoint also transmits a very short message at very low power signal (broadcasting at 10milliwatt, 10mW is less than half of the 25mW allowed by the FCC) approximately 5 times each minute. The purpose of this is a mobile (drive-by) backup that can be use if the cellular option is temporarily not working. Under typical operation, the endpoint transmits reading data for seconds per day meaning that the endpoint transmits as little energy as a brief cell phone call. The endpoints self-regulate their output power to use the least amount needed to reliably communicate with the network. The maximum power does not exceed the limit set by the FCC.
Yes, the data transmitted from your meter is encrypted and includes only meter flow information. No billing or personal information is transmitted.
Yes, you can opt out the AMI pilot project by simply calling the Water Efficiency Department at 415-945-1520 to notify us of your choice. Before opting out, please consider the multiple benefits associated with AMI, including enhanced leak detection and water monitoring abilities, likely to save you water and money.
For additional questions, contact the Water Conservation Department at 415-945-1520.
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One of the biggest components of the bills is the creation of water-use objectives for water agencies (not individual households or businesses). Starting in 2023, water agencies such as MMWD will be required to calculate and submit a water-use objective to the state. By 2024, we’ll be required to meet that objective.
No. The water-use objectives are for local water suppliers’ system-wide, aggregate water use. There is no requirement for individual households to meet a specific water-use standard.
Each year, water agencies like MMWD will be responsible for ensuring that their system-wide aggregate water use meets the objective. The law gives local water agencies flexibility in how to best help customers within their own communities use water more efficiently, such as through conservation rebates and educational programs.
The standards will be calculated using water efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor water use that are developed through research and public input. The indoor calculation will initially be based on a provisional standard of 55 gallons of water a day per person. The outdoor calculation is still being determined, but will account for local climate and the number of irrigable acres, including residential and commercial outdoor landscaping.
Yes. Households with water-efficient fixtures and appliances are likely already meeting this standard. Remember, too, that the 55 gallons per person per day will be used to calculate an aggregate target for our community. There is no specific water use standard for individual households.
Yes. By 2022, the state will adopt water-use efficiency performance measures for various commercial, industrial and institutional (schools, parks, etc.) water users.
MMWD will continue to share updates as the state develops guidelines for implementing the new legislation. In the meantime, we ask our customers to simply continue using water wisely, as you have done. Thank you!
Your water meter is an important conservation tool. It not only measures the amount of water you use, but it can tell you if there is a leak in your plumbing. Follow these simple steps to carefully monitor your water use:
You can also set up automatic payments on our online payment system from a checking account, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover. Click the Login / Register link at top right.
All of our residential water meters (meters one inch in size and smaller) are positive displacement meters. We buy this type of meter because when they fail, they fail in favor of the consumer. The manufacturer certifies the accuracy of the meters when they are new. With age and extended usage they either maintain their accuracy or they slow down.
For general questions regarding the Entitlement Program or to get entitlement or water budget information for your property, please contact the Water Conservation Department at 415-945-1520.
The Fire Flow Improvement Program was initiated in 1997 to improve the firefighting capability and seismic reliability of our water system. The program is funded by an annual $75 parcel fee paid by property owners in MMWD's service area. With the support of local fire officials, in 2012 the MMWD Board of Directors approved extending the original 15-year program for another 19 years (until 2031). The current program will replace 52 miles of pipelines with larger pipelines that can carry greater volumes of water and construct seismic improvements.
No, the annual fee is fixed and will remain the same for the duration of the current program, beginning in FY 2012-13 and ending in FY 2030-31.
The California Department of Public Health requires all drinking water additives, including fluoride, to meet the requirements of NSF 60, the nationally recognized health effects standard for chemicals used to treat drinking water. 47 states require that chemicals used in the treatment of potable water meet the NSF 60 standard.
Hydrofluorosilicic acid, the additive we use, meets the requirements of NSF 60 and therefore is an approved fluoride compound.
State legislation on water fluoridation also has a bearing on this issue. State Assembly Bill 733, which became law in 1995, requires water systems in California that have 10,000 or more service connections to fluoridate the water. The law does exempt water systems from this requirement if they do not have funds from outside sources to pay for the costs of fluoridation. Under the statute, “outside sources” are defined as sources other than the system’s ratepayers, shareholders, local taxpayers, bondholders, or any fees or charges levied by the water systems.
Annually MMWD receives about 1 million dollars in rental income from antenna site and property leases. This income qualifies as an “outside source.”
A careful review shows that even if there were a ballot measure within MMWD’s service area to overturn the 1978 fluoridation ballot measure, there is a strong argument and likelihood that the district would still be required to fluoridate the water supply because:• MMWD has more than 10,000 service connections• MMWD has outside income to pay the annual costs of fluoridation
The proposed rate changes include two main components:
Our costs to deliver water and manage our watershed are changing. MMWD is paying more for everything from electricity, to water treatment chemicals, to wholesale water purchases. We are not alone; utility costs are increasing across the country.
As costs rise, our rates must rise to reflect the cost of providing service.
We need these additional funds to make critical investments into our aging infrastructure. We are the oldest municipal water district in the state of California and our water delivery systems – our pipelines, pump stations and reservoirs – are showing their age. We need to make the investments now, with cash, to avoid paying twice as much in the long run by borrowing the money.
While you will see a small increase in your bill, you’re not just paying more for water, you’re paying for the service. Our customers pay to operate the Mt. Tam Watershed, seven reservoirs, three treatment plants, the entire water delivery system, which includes 900 miles of underground pipelines, 125 storage tanks, and 95 pump stations to deliver high-quality, locally sourced water 24/7, 365 days per year for about penny per gallon.
The Capital Maintenance Fee (CMF) is a charge based on meter size. For customers with a 5/8” meter (almost 70% of our customers) the annual fee would be $163.50, or $13.63 per month.
Funds raised through the CMF will go directly to the District’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which is dedicated to maintaining, upgrading, rehabilitating and building resiliency into our existing and aging assets. A portion of the CMF, $1 million per year, will be dedicated to fund increased fire reduction efforts on our watershed.
The CMF will support our 10-year capital improvement plan (which may change as the District’s Asset Management Program gears up), pay for needed capital improvements without escalating debt for normal maintenance, stabilize monthly rates, and save millions of dollars in interest and fees for ratepayers. The CMF will be effective July 1, 2019. Each July 1 thereafter through and including July 1, 2024, the CMF may automatically be increased or decreased to keep pace with inflation. The annual increases/decreases will be benchmarked to the industry standard Engineering News-Record (ENR) Construction Cost Index. Increases will be capped at 4% increases annually. The CMF will not apply to dedicated private fire service lines.
MMWD has established a Citizen Advisory Panel (CAP) on Infrastructure Investments to offer input on the CIP regarding investment priorities. The Panel will also review annual expenditures and provide the MMWD Board and management with additional feedback on annual infrastructure funding needs. The CAP presented the MMWD Board a summary letter with recommendations.
By providing dedicated funding for critical infrastructure projects, the CMF allows us to replace aging pipes and storage tanks, upgrade our treatment plants, and manage wildfire risk on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed—without taking on new debt. The CMF will help us avoid $160 million in debt principal over the next 10 years, thereby saving MMWD and our customers an estimated $170 million in long-term interest payments. The small remaining debt capacity the District has is planned to be reserved for emergencies like natural disasters or large one-time investments in the future (such as repairs to dams).
Using meter size to apportion costs is an accepted industry approach for infrastructure-related fees. Meter size represents the potential demand on the system, and not the actual water use a customer may be using at a given time. Commercial and Institutional Private Fire Service Lines are not included in the new fee. Private Fire Service Lines are used only in the very rare event of interior fire and, thus, do not impact demand on the system and associated infrastructure sizing.
Customers whose meter sizes were increased to accommodate indoor fire sprinklers or low water pressure may qualify for lower fixed fees. This fee adjustment would apply to the CMF as well as other fees based on meter size. Customers can apply for the adjustment online at MarinWater.org/metersizing or by calling 415-945-1506.
We use an in-house team of experienced designers, technicians and engineers who are very familiar with the District’s water system and at efficiently putting together clear and comprehensive plans and specifications for complex water capital improvement projects. We then award the construction contract to the lowest responsive bidder, ensuring we are getting a fair price. Our inspectors work closely with the contractor to ensure the project is constructed in accordance with the contract documents and on schedule. We also work closely with every city and town in our district and the county to coordinate scheduling of our projects to minimize public impact and leverage our public works dollars.
Every year MMWD submits an audited financial report to the Board of Directors and the public in accordance with California Government Code section 25253. A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) was last prepared for fiscal years ending June 2018 and 2017 in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) as promulgated by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
In 2018, MMWD was awarded its tenth Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its CAFR ending fiscal year 2017, which is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. This award represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management to demonstrate a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story.
Our financial reports are available on our website at: marinwater.org/273/Management-Finance
MMWD’s current median salary is $99,648 and supports a highly skilled, professional, technical staff. When you turn on your tap and clean water appears, it is not by accident. MMWD’s skilled workforce operates our water system 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Because we operate in the public health and safety arena, many of our jobs require special skills and licenses—chemists, engineers, distribution operators, treatment operators, technicians. People with these skills are not easy to come by. Being competitive ensures we have a team of talented individuals taking care of this 107-year-old agency so that it will be in good working condition to meet the needs of those that come after us. We take that responsibility very seriously.
Since 2010, we’ve reduced the number of full time positions from 266 to 240, in addition to reducing hourly and temporary help. We have fully implemented the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act (PEPRA), thereby limiting future pensions for hires new to the retirement system. We’ve refinanced debt to take advantage of lower interest rates.
The Mt. Tamalpais Watershed—the crown jewel of Marin County—is the primary source of drinking water for our customers. It is a place of unparalleled scenic beauty, home to rare and endangered species, and a popular recreational destination.
Maintaining 21,600 acres of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed has an increasing cost. MMWD’s responsibilities include managing wildfire risks, restoring habitat, protecting rare plants and animals, maintaining access roads and trails, assisting visitors, and preserving the ecological health of the creeks.
MMWD has and will continue to have discounted programs for low-income and medically disabled customers. Both programs waive fixed fees, so you pay only for water used. We can send you more information and an application by mail or email. Visit marinwater.org/discounts or call our Customer Service Department at 415-945-1400.
To provide additional information about the proposed increases, we are holding two public workshops and a hearing. We invite you to attend!
To protest the proposed rates, you must submit your protest in writing, even if you plan to attend the public hearing. If written protests are submitted by a majority of the affected property owners or customers, the proposed rate changes will not be imposed. Only one written protest will be counted per identified parcel.
Your written protest must be received prior to the close of the May 28, 2019 public hearing. Written protests must identify the parcel (parcel number) or utility (MMWD) account number or address for which the protest(s) are submitted. Written protests also must include a signature of the record property owner or utility customer and a statement that the person is opposed to the proposed rates, fees and charges. Send or deliver written protests to:
Marin Municipal Water District
220 Nellen Ave., Corte Madera, CA 94925
In the last 10 years, we’ve invested $203 million into upgrading our infrastructure. Some examples of projects include:
Given the size of our infrastructure, and its average age, we need to continually make investments to ensure we can accomplish our mission of delivering safe and reliable water.
The proposed Super Saver Credit Program is designed to benefit the 5% of customers with the lowest water consumption—approximately 3,000 customers. Customers must have water service in their name and the account must be their primary residence. Qualifying customers will receive bi-monthly credits of up to $8.00. There is no need to apply for this program - if you qualify, the credit will be automatically applied to your bill.
Yes. Since September 2017, there have been 22 publicly noticed meetings that have led to the current rate increase proposal. There is also a Citizen Advisory Panel on Infrastructure created to review the Marin Municipal Water District’s next 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The Citizen Advisory Panel on Infrastructure delivered a letter to MMWD’s Board of Directors at the February 19 board meeting. A copy of the letter is available to read here.
The meeting topics and dates are listed below:
Long-Term Debt Management Plan
September 28, 2017
Building a Structurally Balanced Budget
October 26, 2017
Pension and Retiree Healthcare Cost Management
January 25, 2018
Capital Improvement Plan Development Process
February 22, 2018
Expenditures and Projected Annual Cost Increases
March 22, 2018
Strategic Planning Workshop I
April 17, 2018
Revenue Requirements and Funding Options
April 26, 2018
Strategic Planning Workshop II
May 15, 2018
Board Retreat – Budget Planning
June 8, 2018
FY2020-23 Budget Approach Discussion
November 15, 2018
December 19, 2018
Citizen Advisory Panel on Infrastructure Investments
January 19, 2019
Preliminary FY2020-21 Budget Presentation
January 24, 2019
February 8, 2019
Operating and Capital Budget for FY20 and FY21
February 19, 2019
Rate Outreach Plan Update
February 20, 2019
DRAFT 2019 Updated COSA and DRAFT Prop 218
February 28, 2019
Proposed Water Rate Increases
March 5, 2019
Rate Outreach Update
March 8, 2019
March 11, 2019
Presentation of an updated Draft Prop. 218 Notice
March 19, 2019
April 10, 2019
Community Workshop on Rate Proposal #1
April 25, 2019
Community Workshop on Rate Proposal #2
May 15, 2019
Board Hearing on Rate Proposal
May 28, 2019
When Lagunitas, Bon Tempe and Alpine are full, the overflow spills into other district reservoirs downstream. Water from Phoenix, Kent, Nicasio and Soulajule flows into local creeks where it provides many environmental benefits including habitat for endangered coho salmon and other fish and wildlife. Thus even water that goes over the spillways is put to good use.
When the district last filed for rights to expand storage in 1980, the result was 15 years of studies and hearings prior to reaching a court-ordered agreement. Since that time, stronger protections have been put in place for endangered coho salmon. Given the water needs for fish and the high volume of water we already divert, it is highly unlikely that MMWD would be granted the necessary approvals to further increase reservoir storage.
The simplest and least expensive way we can maximize our water supply is through conservation. That's why we ask our customers to use water wisely and why we offer a variety of conservation programs and rebates to help.
Dual-Flush: Dual-flush toilets save water by offering two different flush volumes, one for solids and one for liquids, so you save water by only using what you need. Most dual-flush toilets use 1.6 gpf for a full flush and 0.8 gpf for a reduced flush. Studies show these toilets average about 1.3 gpf.
Pressure-Assist: Pressure-assist toilets compress a pocket of air inside a sealed chamber as water fills. When flushed, the pressurized air forces the water rapidly into the bowl, creating a powerful, fast flush that has a “whoosh” sound. The flush can be slightly louder than standard toilets.
Single-Flush: A few manufacturers do offer HETs that utilize a single-flush—what many would describe as a “standard-style” toilet. These toilets use no more than 1.28 gpf.
Since 1995, when MMWD changed the distribution system disinfectant from chlorine to chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, MMWD has achieved a 57% reduction in THMs on average. The federal standard for THMs is 80 micrograms per liter (ug/L,) or parts per billion, while the THM count in MMWD's water averages 31 ug/L.
While HAA monitoring was not required before the conversion to chloramine, it has been well documented that the use of chloramine for a residual disinfectant significantly reduces the formation of HAAs. The average concentration found in MMWD’s distribution system is approximately one-third of the federal standard of 60 ug/L.
On its way to your tap the water temperature can increase and pressure is reduced as water enters distribution system tanks and ultimately flows with the released air bubbles out of your tap. There is no health impact associated with the air bubbles, but if you find the cloudiness unappealing, let the water sit for a few minutes or keep a container of water stored in the refrigerator.
The algal type is called Aphanizomenon or Aphan for short. Its presence does not degrade the safety of our water supply in any way and, unlike some types of algae, it does not produce any musty or moldy tastes or smells. While many algae types grow predominantly in the summer months, this type of algal sheen can be seen in nearly all months of the year.