Service Interruptions: What to Expect

What happens after service is interrupted?

After service has been restored, you may experience an uneven or pulsating stream of water from your faucets or fixtures when you first use them. This is usually caused by a small amount of air trapped in your plumbing lines and will resolve itself after a few minutes through normal water usage. When pipe lines in the streets are disturbed due to repairs in your area, mineral sediments sometimes break loose and cause rusty or dirty-looking water. The sediments are harmless mineral deposits that naturally occur in water. If the water does not clear after running it for a few minutes, please call us and a service inspector will investigate the cause.

If you experience reduced or uneven flow at your faucets, cleaning all faucet aerators (screens) should alleviate the problem. Remove the aerator, clean it out, and the problem should go away. Please be aware that all approved plumbing that is in compliance with the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and that has been maintained properly will not be affected by most maintenance work performed by San Jose Water.

If you still have a problem with water flow or color, please contact our Customer Service Department at (408) 279-7900.


How can I recognize a San Jose Water service person?

Please be cautious of any person claiming to be an employee of San Jose Water who might ask to come inside your home. Only when you have scheduled an appointment with SJW should it be necessary for a SJW employee to actually enter your home.

Most SJW employees are easily recognized by the uniforms they wear. Additionally, all SJW field employees are required to wear a photo ID badge displaying their name and employee number. Most employees drive white trucks bearing the SJW logo on the doors.

If you have reason to believe that a person claiming to be an employee of SJW is not an employee, dial 911. If you are concerned about any work being performed by SJW, please contact us at (408) 279-7900 or email

What happens if I don't pay my bill?

In the event you have not paid your bill within the established timeframes, service to your home or business may be discontinued. To have your water service restored, you must pay your bill in full at our office located at 110 W. Taylor Street (map) in San Jose, or via the one-time payment option by calling our automated payment service anytime at (408) 279-7900 or 1 (855) 771-7900. Tariffs established by the California Public Utilities Commission indicate we have up to 24 hours to restore service; however, please be assured that service will be restored as soon as possible.

Charges will be applied to your account to restore your water service. The charge to restore service during regularly scheduled business hours is $20.00. The charge to restore service on evenings, weekends, and holidays is $30.00.

What is the leak repair process?

All water utilities experience leaks in their system from time to time. Leaks come in all shapes, sizes, and severity. The process to safely repair a leak involves many steps to ensure the safety of both personnel and the public.

When a leak is discovered, water company personnel are dispatched to the area to determine the type and severity of the leak. More severe leaks that may create dangerous conditions for the public are given a high priority for repair.

State of California law requires utilities to complete an Underground Service Alert (USA) before digging in the street. Once a USA is requested, other utilities are allowed up to 48 hours to mark the locations of their infrastructure including pipelines, conduits, cables, and other structures in and around the affected area. This standard practice ensures the safety and protection of our own personnel, the public, and other underground utilities.

After the USA is completed, repairs are prioritized accordingly based on available resources. It can sometimes take many days to repair some leaks because of the availability of personnel and the volume and severity of leaks in the system.

All water utilities experience leaks in their systems and according to a recent study, the average US water utility loses approximately 20% of its water to leaks and fire protection. SJW works very hard to minimize and quickly respond to leaks. Through very proactive water main replacement and leak repair programs, our water loss consistently averages about 7%, an incredible accomplishment considering the size and age of our water system.

At SJW, our goal is to provide high quality water coupled with exceptional customer service. While we strive to repair leaks in the quickest manner possible, we must do so in a way that complies with the law, minimizes inconveniences to our customers, and is protective of our personnel, other utilities, and the public.

Water Leaks and How We Respond to Them