Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Do you have an existing home that has water service with the District and are planning to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on your property? A separate meter is required for the ADU. Follow these steps to get water service to the new building.

  1. Fill out New Water Service Application Request.
  2. Contact conservation staff to schedule an appointment to discuss your project. District staff will review and identify applicable project requirements and provide an estimate of project charges.
  3. Meet with District staff to:
  4. Get on the waiting list to purchase Water Demand Offset credits from the Enhanced Toilet Rebate program.
  5. Pay Water Demand Offset fees when enough offsets are available for your project. Purchase long-term offset credits at any time between getting on the waiting list and getting Will Serve approval.
  6. Get Board of Director's Will Serve Approval for your project.
  7. Obtain a building permit (or tentative map) from the respective land use planning agency (Santa Cruz County or City of Capitola) and provide a copy to the District.
  8. Fill out the Indoor Water Use Efficiency Requirements checklist and the fire protection requirements form and submit to District.
  9. Get Staff "Conservation Approval"
  10. The Applicant is required to hire a contractor to install the new service and pay the District the remaining fees including an inspection deposit and water capacity fees.  This process is described in the Applicant Installed Service Brochure.
  11. Once service is installed, District staff may inspect to ensure all Water Use Efficiency Requirements and Go Green building measures (if applicable) are met.

  12. Get Staff "Engineering Approval" Drop meters and begin service.

Complete Process Flow Diagram

Please refer to the process flow diagram for Tier I and Tier II Single Family Residences. Click on Image to open up a larger .pdf.




Cost overview

Check out our New Water Service "Cheat Sheet" to get an idea of the cost of some common residential developments. Costs are subject to change and are for reference only.

Water Demand Offset Fees

Applicants for new or expanded water service must comply with the Water Demand Offset (WDO) Program to offset two times the amount of water demand expected from the development. For Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), expected annual water demand in acre-feet of water is based on the square footage of the unit.  The demand in acre feet per year is multiplied by 1.6 to account for inefficiencies in fixtures and to minimize extra demand on the system. As of June 17, 2014 all applicants for new water service must pay the equivalent charge of $55,000 per acre foot of expected water demand.  WDO fees are used by the District to fund water conservation or supply projects in the service area that provide an equivalent amount of water. See Water Demand Offset Program page for more info.

Water Demand Offset Fees must be paid before Board approval is granted and before plans can be submitted to the City of Capitola or the County of Santa Cruz. There is currently a waiting list to purchase offsets.

To view the current wait list (updated 11/09/17), click the link below:


Service Connection and Meter Charges

Applicant is responsible for locating and hiring a licensed contractor to install the required service.  Applicant is required to pay District fees for the applicable meter drop for their service size and to pay for a deposit for inspection (determined on a project by project basis).

If your Accessory Dwelling Unit is smaller than 640 square feet then you are eligible for a 5/8 inch restricted domestic service and 2 inch fire combination Service.  If your Accessory Dwelling Unit is larger than 640 square feet then you are eligible for a 5/8 inch meter and a 2 inch fire combination service.

  Meter Drop Size Cost
Combination Service
5/8" Restricted Domestic and 2" Fire Service 5/8" restricted & 5/8" $634
5/8" Domestic and 2" Fire Service 5/8" & 5/8" $598
Single Service
5/8" Domestic or Irrigation Service 5/8" $299
5/8" Restricted Domestic Service 5/8" restricted $335
2" Fire Service 5/8" $299

Water Capacity Charges

In addition to the Connection and Meter Charges, there is an established Water Capacity Charge based on the size of the meter.   Water capacity fees are payable any time after a building permit or tentative map is granted and before the District will drop a meter and activate service. Effective January 17, 2017, standard size meter charges are:

5/8 inch restricted meter (for ADUs less than 640 square feet) $8,280
5/8 inch meter or 1 inch restricted meter $16,560