To serve you better, we've assembled a list of our customers' most frequently asked questions. If you don't find your answer here, feel free to contact us.
How do I get to the Bella Vista Water District Office?
You can get directions to our office on our Customer Service Locations page.
How do I read my meter?
When is my meter read?
All meters within the District are currently read and billed on a bimontly schedule. Meter reading routes are grouped in "cycles". Your meter cycle is located on your bill, a bi-monthly schedule for the current year is located under the Customer Service tab, Meter Reading.
Many of the District's meters are equiped with automated meter reading (AMR) equipment that allows the meter to be read without phisically lifting the meter box lid and manually reading the meter. AMR improves our accuracy, efficiency and reduces accidents and injuries associated with manual meter reading.
How could I have used this much water?
Your meter may have been misread, or you may have a leak! A leaky toilet or irrigation valve is sometimes difficult to detect. If possible, obtain your current meter reading and then call the office so we can verify the billing. Our Meter Reading Guide provides a detailed explanation on reading your meter and includes sections on how to monitor your water use and how to check for leaks to determine if a leak exists within your private plumbing system. It is easy and wise to check for leaks at least annually or whenever your water billing seems unusually high!
How do I read my bill and what are your fees?
The District's water rates are broken down as follows; a base charge, a water treatment and a usage charge. In some cases, there could be a cross-connection charge if you have a well on your property and a fire protection service fee. All activated services incur a base and water treatment charge. These charges are standard bimonthly fees which vary with the size of the meter and type of service, i.e., residential, rural, commercial, public institution and agricultural, etc. These base charges do not provide for any water. The charge is used to offset the cost of providing service and maintaining the service and the water system, irrespective of the amount of water delivered. Costs include planning; meeting regulatory requirements; maintaining the system in good repair; meter replacements, etc.
The District was mandated to upgrade its water treatment processes which resulted in a low interest rate loan obligation that is being repaid through the Water Treatment Fee.
The usage charge is a unit charge for the amount of water used. This charge is made to recover the direct costs of supplying water, which includes water purchases, treatment, pumping, and other costs attributable directly to the amount of water used.
The District's policy is to do a cost-based study once every five years to determine a goal for setting the rates. The rates are adjusted annually to reflect the costs.
The District is a not for profit entity formed under California law to provide water service. There is no profit. Every dollar collected goes into providing the water and operating and maintaining the system with a small amount set aside for emergencies.
Water Shut Off
If you have a leak on your side of the meter, a Customer shut-off valve is located immediately downstream of the meter to allow customers to shut off the supply of water to their property. Typically, a valve located at the water heater will allow the customer to only isolate the household plumbing. If the Customer shut off valve does not operate properly or shut the water off, you may contact the District’s on-call operator to respond to shut the water off by calling 530-241-1085 and speaking to the answering service (Direct call to after-hours answering service is 800-897-9880 or 866-509-9820). Applicable charges will apply for after-hours call-outs.
Never attempt to work on the meter or plumbing upstream of the meter! Only the District’s Certified Water Distribution System Operators are permitted to operate valves upstream of the meter and operate the public water system.
Additional information can be found here on how to shut your service off.
Water Emergencies should be reported promptly. Detailed information can be located here. https://www.bvwd.org/documents/503/Water_Emergencies.pdf
What chemicals does our water district add to the water?
Chlorine is added as a disinfectant in amounts sufficient to destroy disease causing bacteria. A coagulant is used to coagulate particles to form larger particles that are trapped by filters during the filtration process. The coagulant and trapped particles are then backwashed out of the filters.
The District continuously monitors source and finished water quality to ensure it meets all state and federal drinking water regulations. The District's Drinking Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) details the results of laboratory analysis and is located under the Resource tab as Water Quality Report section.
Why do I have a previous balance when I know I sent in my payment?
We may have received your payment after the due date or we may not have received it at all. If your are using your bank's online payment program, payments take 7-10 days to receive. The District offers its own I-Cloud program for online payments. Please call our office and we will help you solve the problem.
The assessment rate is set at approximately $0.37 per $100 of land value only, and for the following purposes: 1. The purchase of water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; 2. To operate and maintain the system and, 3. To maintain a contingency reserve. More information regarding this can be read on the fact sheet.
I have low water pressure, or no water
- If possible, check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing the same problem. If your neighbors are having a problem too, please call the office immediately at 241-1085.
- If your neighbors are okay, the problem is most likely within your plumbing system. Check to see if the problem is isolated to a specific fixture of section within your home/facility.
- If you have low water pressure to your entire home/facility, check to see if you have good pressure on your sprinkler system and only low pressure in the house. Most pressure regulating valves are plumbed to protect the house from high pressure, but maintain system pressure to the sprinklers. If you have normal pressure outside, but not inside check your pressure regulator for adjustment, maintenance or replacement.
- Pressure regulators have screens that need to be routinely cleaned; if they get plugged they will prevent water from reaching your house/facility. Pressure regulators have a disk that can break off and wedge itself in the orifice restricting flow to varying degrees. This seems to be the most common failure on a direct acting pressure regulating valve, which is the type most commonly used in a residential application
- If water pressure is okay when you first open a valve but quickly drops off, you probably have an obstruction within your plumbing system.
My water tastes, looks, or smells funny. Is it safe to drink?
A slight chlorine residual smell is normal. A small chlorine residual is required throughout the distribution system to maintain a disinfection residual to ensure bacteria free water to our customers. All public water systems are required to maintain a chlorine residual. Our disinfectant levels are tested continuously to ensure safety.
When switching from the District's main source of supply, the Sacramento River to our groundwater wells, customers may notice a slight taste and odor difference. Groundwater is slightly warmer, has a higher mineral content and somewhat different taste.
If you smell anything other than chlorine, there might be a cross connection or stagnant water that should be flushed out immediately. If the problem returns or continues, contact our office at 241-1085.
Why does debris come out of the faucet when running hot water?
Debris in the water could be dissolved minerals caused from heated water in your hot water tank. These minerals are usually white and accumulate at the bottom of the tank and should be flushed periodically.
CAUTION: Many manufacturers recommend hiring a professional to flush your water heater. If you plan on doing this yourself, read the owner's manual to keep from being hurt and/or damaging the water heater.
What is a backflow and/or cross connection?
The District’s public water system is designed for water to flow from the supplier to the user, not in reverse! A cross-connection or backflow condition is the unwanted reversal of flow through either back-pressure or back-siphonage into the potable water supply. This will occur whenever the pressure of the public water system becomes lower than the customer’s system beyond the water meter. These conditions may be caused by elevation changes, surges, and pressure differentials generated by booster and injection pumps. Back-siphonage may occur from pressure differentials caused by reduced pressure within the potable water system and may occur as a result of power outages or excessive supply line demands caused by a pipeline break or firefighting. Please contact the District office if you are planning to inject any chemicals into your irrigation system so that we can assist you in complying with our requirements, prevent any potential contamination of the public water system, and protect public health and safety.
For more information see our cross-connection (backflow) control program Fact Sheet and Article XI of the District's Policy Manual located under our Resources tab.