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? Find out how to secure water for your conversion or new construction unit below.

What is an ADU?

ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit. It is an additional, self-contained housing unit that is secondary to the main residence on a single family home lot. It must have all features that are required in a standard residence (kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area, heat, etc.). ADUs are also known as granny units, in-law apartments and second units.

Does my new ADU require a new water service?

It depends on the type of ADU you are building. Conversion ADU (see definition below) do NOT require a new water service. All ADUs must participate in the District’s Water Demand Offset (WDO) program.

See this handout to access whether your ADU project is a “conversion” or a “new construction” ADU.

Process for Conversion ADUs

Conversion ADUs (which are contained inside the existing square footage of a house or legal accessory structure) do not need a new water service to serve the ADU but still require a “Will Serve” letter from the SqCWD Board in order to proceed with the building process. The process for fulfilling your water requirements are as follows:

  1. Apply for Will Serve letter with New Water Service Application and $300 application fee. Meet with conservation staff.
  2. Fulfill Water Demand Offset Requirement (there is currently a wait list at this step).
  3. Get Will Serve letter and proceed with the appropriate land use planning agency to get building permit.
  4. Build project.

Process for New Construction ADUs

New Construction ADUs require a dedicated meter to serve the new unit and will require a “Will Serve” letter from the SqCWD Board in order to proceed with the building process. A detailed step by step flowchart of the steps to get new service can be found here. The general process for getting a Will Serve letter and getting a new meter dropped is as follows:

  1. Apply for Will Serve letter with New Water Service Application and $300 application fee. Meet with Conservation staff.
  2. Fulfill Water Demand Offset Requirement (there is currently a wait list at this step).
  3. Get Will Serve letter and proceed with the appropriate land use planning agency to get building permit.
  4. Build project
  5. Pay Water Capacity Fees and Metering Fees. Enter into the Applicant Installed Service Agreement with Engineering.
  6. Install service and have service inspected by SqCWD building inspector.
  7. SqCWD will drop meters and service will begin.

Cost overview

Check out our New Water Service Fee Breakdown to to see the fee breakdown for common residential developments (including ADUs). Costs are subject to change and are for reference only.

Water Demand Offset Program and Wait List

All ADUs are required to participate in the Water Demand Offset program. This program requires new development to offset their projected water demand by funding new conservation or supply projects within the District. This fee will be between $9,075 and $13,940, depending on the size of the new ADU.

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 07/05/18), click the link below:

WAIT LIST

Please see the Water Demand Offset page for more information on the wait list and process for this fulfilling this requirement.

Have Questions or Want to Schedule an Appointment?

Contact Alyssa Abbey, Assistant Staff Analyst, by email or by phone at (831) 475-8500 x124.