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If you're a California resident, odds are you've become accustomed to the signs and public notices warning of the state's now years-long drought. But even as Californians learn to adapt to drier and hotter temperatures, some side effects of the drought are proving harder to get used to—including higher water bills.

Earlier this spring, the Alameda County Water District and other Bay Area water suppliers enacted drought surcharges, and they're not the only ones. In March of 2022, the Voice of San Diego reported that even though residents of the city have been successful in decreasing their water usage nearly by half, the cost of water continues to rise.


As a result, many Californians—particularly those with low incomes—have found themselves struggling or unable to pay their water bills. For people in that situation, we've compiled a helpful guide for finding help with water bills:


  1. Call Your Utility Company. The best place to start is by contacting your utility company directly. Make sure you determine that all the charges are valid, and then ask them about financial assistance or bill forgiveness options for people in your situation.
  2. Reach Out to Community Aid Organizations. The federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) was established to help low-income residents manage their water utility costs. LIHWAP is administered through community-based local organizations, including Spectrum Community Services.
  3. Look for Relief Programs. For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic either catalyzed or exacerbated their financial problems. Several relief programs have been established to provide aid to people whose outstanding bills are the direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information, or contact us to learn about current volunteer opportunities. We can't wait to work with you!