The Drinking Water Unit of the Fee Branch is responsible for setting and collecting fees for The Safe Drinking Water Program. The Program is mandated by the California Legislature to ensure all public water systems providing service to California are in compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act standards.

Drinking Water Fees encompass annual fees billed to all water systems and, when applicable, enforcement fees.

Annual fees support the day-to-day operations of the Drinking Water Program, which has nearly 350 staff in 28 districts and support units located in offices statewide who are tasked with implementing the federal and state Safe Drinking Water Act. The districts’ responsibilities include the following:

  • Issuing permits to drinking water systems for proposed sources and treatment facilities, changes of ownership, distribution system expansions, and large storage tank additions
  • Inspecting water systems every three to five years and evaluating the eight elements of a sanitary survey as defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Reviewing water quality monitoring data from sources and treatment, and working with water systems to ensure that the water delivered to customers meets state and federal drinking water standards
  • Issuing enforcement actions for water systems failing to comply with applicable regulations
  • Offering technical assistance to water systems and aiding in water systems’ response to emergencies

Support units are responsible for tasks including developing drinking water standards and requirements, administering drinking water infrastructure grants and loans, and managing the SAFER program.

Annual fees are a flat rate based on water system size. See the Annual Fee Table below for current rates.

Enforcement fees are billed to water systems that received citations, compliance orders, or joint citation and compliance orders during the prior fiscal year. Enforcement fees depend on the amount of time Program staff spend drafting the enforcement action and are distinct from any monetary penalties incurred from enforcement.


Contact Information

Email: DAS-DrinkingWaterFees@waterboards.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 341-5082
FAX:    (916) 341-5248