CALIFORNIA CITY — Homeowners required by changes to state law to install one-inch water meters to support fire suppression systems will get a break on their water bills, after the City Council agreed to reduce the basic water rate to match that of the more common household 3/4-inch meters.

The City Council on Nov. 12 unanimously agreed, without discussion to the change, which had been brought to their attention by a resident.

Beginning in 2014, state building codes required all new residential buildings to include sprinkler systems for fire protection. In preparation for this change in the state law, city staff looked at the building codes and the city’s water system and determined that such fire protection systems in single-family homes would require a one-inch meter instead of the typical 3/4-inch that had been deemed sufficient without the sprinklers.

These homeowners were being charged the higher rate for the larger meter on their water bills, even though given the amount of fixtures in their homes the smaller meter would suffice, according to the staff report.

To remedy that disparity, the Council agreed to reduce the rate on the one-inch meter, as long as the single-family home in question does not exceed 37 fixtures, not counting the fire protection system.

This would only apply to those residences that were required to install one-inch meters for the fire sprinklers, Senior Building Official Joe Barragan said.

The change will affect approximately 30 water accounts, according to the staff report.

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