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Updated January 2024.


Our top priority is always the health, safety and reliability of your water service — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

We plan to spend $540 million on water infrastructure over the next three years, including replacing 75 miles of water mains. Just one of the many ways we keep your water safe and reliable!

What is a General Rate Case?

On January 2, 2024, we filed a General Rate Case (GRC) application to adjust water rates for the years 2025-2027. If the CPUC approves this application, SJW will recover forecasted costs in rates over a 3-year period beginning on January 1, 2025. We work with the CPUC to file a GRC every three years to ensure:

  • Investments in the infrastructure needed to deliver reliable water service
  • Continued commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability with an effort to further reduce our environmental footprint
  • Reasonable and fair rates

SJW has been serving customers for more than 150 years. The growth of our system, including more than 2,400 miles of water mains, has mirrored the development of Silicon Valley. As this infrastructure ages, it needs to be replaced and upgraded with new materials and technology.  We strive to maximize the useful life of our assets — replacing them as they approach failure.  Waiting until they can no longer provide safe and reliable service is simply not an option. 

How are rates set?

San Jose Water is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and serves over one million customers in the San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga communities.

Every three years, we are required by law to file a General Rate Case application to adjust water rates. The proposed rate adjustments must be reviewed and approved by the CPUC, following a robust and transparent process that spans about 12 months.

Customers are encouraged to participate in the ratemaking process by providing feedback to the CPUC at a public hearing — which will be scheduled later this year.

What is a Monthly Service Charge?

Your monthly service charge is applied each billing period to help cover a portion of fixed costs — such as meter reading, water quality testing, water treatment, and maintenance of our distribution system including leak repairs. The service charge is applied to all customers regardless of how much water is used. Having a steadier source of revenue to cover our fixed costs helps to alleviate the more frequent rate changes that have occurred in the past few years. Below is an example of the increase from 2023 to 2024.

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What is a Quantity Rate Charge?

Unlike your monthly service charge, your quantity charge rate can fluctuate from month to month. This is because it is based on the amount of water you use and can also be affected by conditions such as drought, rain, or the number of people living at your home.  In an effort to encourage water conservation, many water utilities employ tiered rates where rates increase as usage increases.

The below table outlines quantity charge rates per tier of water use.

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The average SJW customer uses approximately 11 CCF (one CCF is equal to 748 gallons) per month.

Where does the SJW rate money go?

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  • Purchasing treated water and paying groundwater extraction fees to Valley Water
  • Increasing our investment in infrastructure:
    • Maintenance and full replacement of 24 miles of pipe annually (1% of total mains)
    • Upgrading or replacing storage tanks for earthquake resiliency and improved water quality
    • Upgrade or replacement of pumps
  • Paying taxes and fees on water and services to support the local economy
  • Covering operating costs, including the #1 cost for electricity

Are the rates based on the number in each household?

Rates are based on the size of the water meter that serves a home or business, more commonly known as the service charge.  Additional charges are levied for the amount of water consumed or volume charges. All rates are approved by the CPUC and can be found on our website under billing schedules.

How can I reduce water consumption?

Water conservation is a California way of life. To help educate our customers about water conservation, we offer complimentary water check-ups, educational materials, and free low-flow devices. Please visit our conservation section for more information.

How do I learn more about rate increases?

Please visit the rates section of the website.

Why is Great Oaks Water less expensive?

Customers often inquire about why Great Oaks Water Company (Great Oaks) is so much cheaper than SJW’s and the City of San Jose Municipal Water’s (CSJ) rates when all three utilities serve San Jose. A big part of the answer is that Great Oaks enjoys wholesale water rates from Valley Water, at one third of what CSJ and SJW pay. Great Oaks pumps water from the southern basin and the price per acre-foot is $467 vs $1,367 for SJW and CSJ.

To fully understand a rate comparison, a deeper dive is needed. It’s similar to a situation where you stand in front of two identical homes with the same paint color and manicured landscapes and draw conclusions about how well the home has been maintained without ever stepping inside.  It’s just not possible at a glance, and there is a need for a deeper understanding of what’s driving the numbers.

Learn more about water rates

You can visit the USEPA and ASCE websites to review the trove of high quality information speaking to the challenges facing the water industry.  SJW is not immune to these challenges and we are working to address them through our filings with the CPUC.  

What is your relationship with Valley Water?

Valley Water is Santa Clara County’s water supplier.  SJW purchases water from Valley Water and delivers that water to homes and businesses. If SJW customers encounter any issues — for instance downed trees near waterways or an illegal encampment on water district property — they should contact Valley Water.

What is a surcharge?

A surcharge is a tool a water company can use to fund specific capital projects or unusual expenses, to provide water quality, or a means to pass-through Valley Water’s mid-year increase. A surcharge has a specific use and is temporary in nature. The surcharge is removed from your bill when the project or amount is paid in full. All surcharges must be approved by the CPUC.

How can I submit a comment?

Customers are encouraged to participate in the ratemaking process by providing feedback to the CPUC at a public hearing — which will be scheduled later this year.  Check back on this page for updates.

Is there assistance for low-income customers?

SJW’s Customer Assistance Program (CAP, formerly WRAP) provides a 15% discount on the total water bill for eligible low-income customers.

Who can I speak to if I still have questions?

You can call our dedicated Customer Service Advocates at (408) 279-7900 or email customer.service@sjwater.com.