Irvine Ranch Water District

Variance Values

Water Budget Changes for Residential Customers
A variance request form (several different kinds can be found in IRWD’s Library: Variances and Bill Adjustments) is automatically generated and mailed to the customer after the opening of a new water service account. It can also be mailed upon request or the customer can download it from the website. The variance is then submitted to IRWD for review and approval upon verification of all information submitted by the customer. Variances can also be changed as a result of a high bill complaint.

The table shows the changes to the residential water budget that may occur as a result of applying for a variance.


Water Budget Changes for Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Customers

For commercial, industrial, and public authority customers, increases to the base allocation are determined on a case-by-case basis. Relevant factors include severe economic hardship, expansion of productive capacity, and existing conservation practices that can be shown to have reduced water usage (e.g., low flush toilets).


  • Water budget (commercial, industrial, and public authority) change requests can be made by the customer at any time if they notice their usage is exceeding their current budget.
  • At the discretion of the District, the requesting customer may be required to have a water audit, which will be conducted by the District at no charge prior to review of the request. This step confirms that the increased usage is not due to a leak or other water inefficient practice.
  • Customers are notified in writing of the water budget change or if their request is denied.
  • Documents submitted by any customer as part of the account evaluation procedure are reviewed and returned to the customer if requested. If the customer does not request the documentation back, it will be destroyed to protect the customer’s privacy, except for information retained by the District to document the acreage or water budget change as otherwise required by law.


  • Relevant factors will include expansion of productive capacity, existing conservation practices that can be shown to have reduced water usage, severe economic hardship, and other factors determined on a case by case basis.
  • IRWD allocates 0.5 ccf for indoor use per full-time equivalent employee. During an audit, IRWD gathers data on the hours of operation, the number full and part time employees, measurement of irrigation area (if on same meter), all water using equipment, and relevant production metrics (e.g., meals served per month if a restaurant or car washes per month if a car wash). IRWD quantifies equipment water use with a variety of methods, which may include sub-meter reads from customers for cooling towers or process equipment, manufacturer specification sheets, flow rates, and customer input on equipment run times.


  • An approved acre change will become effective on the date the request was submitted to the District.
  • An approved water budget increase will be valid until the account is closed or a new nonresidential tenant applies for service. When a new account is opened, the nonresidential customer will be billed at the conservation base rate for an initial period of six months. The District will then establish a water budget for the customer based on the customer’s usage for the initial six month period and may conduct on-site surveys to ensure water efficient business and irrigation practices are in place prior to beginning to bill the customer in accordance with the applicable rate structure. In the event a new tenant accepts responsibility for an existing account and the account is not closed, the existing water budget for the account will remain in effect unless and until the District, on its own review or at the tenant’s request, modifies the existing water budget or establishes a new water budget by implementing a six-month water budget reestablishment period as described in the preceding sentence.
  • Calculation of the increased acreage or water budget will be made to the account and may be retroactive pending IRWD discretion and circumstances.