Home Page

Amador Water Agency
12800 Ridge Road
Sutter Creek, CA 95685


Hrs: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday
Closed Weekends & Holidays

Emergency Phone #
209-223-3018



Frequently Asked Questions

Billing/Rates

When is my bill due and where and how can I pay it?
Bills are due on receipt and are considered past due after the billing date. A 10% penalty for late payment is assessed after the billing date and is subject to disconnection. Payments can be made with cash, check or card1 Visa/Mastercard/Discover at The Agency Office: 12800 Ridge Road, Sutter Creek, California or at the Ione Pharmacy, 307 Preston Avenue, Ione, California. In addition, you can pay with Visa/Mastercard/Discover over the phone by calling (209)223-3018. Link to Payment Options

Can I pay my bill with my Visa/Master Card
Yes, the Agency now accepts Visa, Master Card and Discover Card at the Agency Office or you may use the card by calling (209) 223-3018. 

Can I pay my bill automatically?
Automatic bill payment is authorization that you give your bank to deduct the payment for your water and/or wastewater bill from your bank account. After you enroll in the program, the bank pays your water bill automatically from that point on, until you cancel your enrollment in the program. Link to Payment Options.

Can I have a payment extension?
If you do not have sufficient funds to pay your bill in full, Amador Water Agency may offer an extension.   If you need a payment extension you will need to come in to the office. We will evaluate the situation and if you receive an extension you will need to sign a promise agreement to make payment by the extended date. Please call our office representative on receipt of the shut-off notice to make an appointment to review your account to see if a payment arrangement will help in your situation .

What constitutes a "unit" of water?
A unit, as it applies to the water rate is 100 cubic feet of water.  100 cubic feed of water is equivalent to 748 gallons.  Therefore 1 unit equals 748 gallons; 2 units equals 1,496 gallons, etc.  Much like gas and electric meters, water meters read left to right.  The water meters used by the Agency are calibrated to measure volume in cubic feet (12 in. X 12 in. X 12 in.).  The dials of the meter read in an industry standard of on ccf equating to 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons (one cubic feet is equal to 7.48 gallons).

What is the Service Charge showing on my bill?
The service charge is intended to collect the Agency's fixed costs.  Fixed costs do not vary with the level of sales, while variable costs change proportionately with sales.  Fixed costs are those related expenses that generally do not vary with the volume of water used.  The components included in the fixed service charge include:

  •      Source of Supply - obtaining and storing our raw water supply.
  •      Water Transmission - costs for the Agency's untreated water transmission system including canals and major pipelines
  •     Water Treatment - costs for treatment plant operators, State Health Fees, debt service for plant upgrades.
  •      Water Distribution - costs associated to distribute the treated water including storage, pumping, distribution pipelines.
  •      Customer Expense -  costs associated with serving customers, including reading meters and billing, customer service, Board expenses, insurances and other activities  

          Fixed costs include salaries and benefits to perform all the above activities by Agency personnel.  System O&M costs, debt service and fixed assets.

           Variable Costs (Commodity Charge)  are variable costs that vary with the amount of actual water consumption.  The components included in the variable commodity include:

  • Energy costs for pumping
  • Chemicals used for water treatment and general plant maintenance. 

Do I have to pay a Deposit?
In order to establish or reestablish credit with the Agency, residential, commercial and industrial services are required to pay a deposit. The deposit is amount is $100.00.   If the account is an industrial account, the deposit is twice the estimated monthly bill but not less than the above stated $100.00.

What happens if my service is shut-off for non-payment?
Any notices of disconnection (shut-off) shall be sent to the customer of record and, if the customer is not the owner, the owner of record.  A charge ($10.00) shall be added to the customer’s account each time that the Agency is required to place a door hanger at the customer’s service location.  In addition, the customer will be charged penalty fees in the amount of 10%, as well as interest at ½%/monthly.  If the service is shut off, the customer will be required to bring their account current and pay a turn on fee in the amount of $30-$80, depending on the day of the week and time of day.

Back to top of Page

Service

How often is my meter read?
The Water Agency's meters are read monthly.  The date varies depending on your read cycle and location.  Generally between 28 and 31 days.

If I have a sewer stoppage what should I do?
Call the Water Agency Customer Service Department before you call another service professional.

What should I do if I think I have a leak?
Any leak between the meter and your house is your responsibility. You may need a plumber to help you. When it is fixed call us for a possible credit on your water bill. AWA might observe higher than normal usage and contact you.  AWA may assist by turning water off at the meter while the repair is made.

Where do I call for line locates?

Call "USA Digs" at (800) 482-8998.

How can I find out where the nearest fire hydrant is located?
Please call Amador Water Agency at 223-3018.

What is our water pressure normally?
Pressures vary throughout our service area. Call the office for the pressure at your service area.  Typical newer systems have pressures between 40 -70 psi.

I have a noticeable pressure drop.  What's going on?

List possible reactions.  Advise customer we are working on the hydrants and have the customer call back if it does not improve. 
Always remember that the problem may be something else and may require a work order. 

How do I obtain a water or sewer connection?
You can visit our office, call for information or download the application from this website. See Water Service or Wastewater Service Page for more details.

What is a PRV?
PRV means Pressure Relief Valve.  PRVs may be required in some areas due to high pressure.  It is the property owner's responsibility to maintain the PRV to prevent damage to the property owner's plumbing. 

How can I get temporary water for construction activities?
You will need to come in or call the office for authorization and fee payment to pull water from a metered hydrant.  Unauthorized use of a fire hydrant is illegal and considered water theft and is a misdeameanor under state law for which the offender may be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 625.   If you see someone drawing water from a hydrant, please notify the office immediately. 

What is a backflow device and why do I need one?

Click here to see our NO Backflow page

How can I prevent problems in my Septic tank?

Contrary to popular belief, septic tanks are not maintenance-free. However, properly designed septic tanks will function well for many years - as long as they were installed correctly and are not overloaded with water, household grease, or solids from garbage disposals.

Typically, septic tanks are made of pre-cast concrete. Often these tanks are composed of three or more parts: access lids, internal baffles, and filter screens. The baffles, or tees must be in good condition to keep the floating scum and grease from leaving the tank and plugging the soil in the leachfield. ln addition to the floating scum, the tanks also contain liquid sewage, which eventually flows to the leachfield. Over a period of time, a sludge layer forms in the bottom of the tank. The sludge consists of the solids that remain after the anaerobic bacteria in the tank break down the solid wastes. The natural process of anaerobic digestion normally does quite well on its own, so no chemicals, enzymes, yeast or other additives should be routinely fed into the tanks.

There are several conditions that can hinder the efficiency and life of your septic system.

Tree Roots
Tree roots can enter septic tank systems and cause plugging. Collection lines and tanks should not be placed near trees, and trees should not be planted near collection lines and tanks.

Physical Damaqe
Damage to the septic tank can occur from traffic or wheel loads on the system. No vehicles should be driven over septic tank systems. No driveways, concrete surfaces or asphalt should be placed over collection lines or the septic tank.


Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is the best approach for septic tanks. Here are some preventative measures to extend the life of your septic system and the community's wastewater system as a whole.

Monitor sludge and scum levels in the septic tank on an annual basis. (This is done by the Amador Water Agency)

Clean the screen or filter cartridge every six-months. (This can be done by a septic specialist or the homeowner)

Minimize the amounts of grease, solids from garbage disposals, chemicals and other materials from entering the septic system. To the extent possible, throw as much as you can in the trash. Allow cooking oils and fats to cool and solidify before placing them in the trash (an old coffee can or crock works well ).

Reduce water flow into your septic system. Never empty water from downspouts into the septic tank. Direct surface water away from the leachfield.

Plant grass over the septic tank to reduce erosion and to absorb moisture. However, do not place plants or structures over tank lids.

Avoiding traffic or wheel loads over the septic tank area. Do not put driveways over septic lines or tanks.

Removing trees from the septic area to avoid tree root invasion.

Get help when you suspect a problem.

Items that you should not put into the garbage disposal, rinse down the drain, or flush down the toilet:

Coffee grounds, egg shells and seafood shell,s high-fat foods (cheeses, ice cream, cookie dough and batters, meats)
fruit and vegetable skins
cooking fats - this includes butter, oil, grease, and lard
fat trimmings and skin from meats
automotive oils and grease
hair and wax
feminine-hygiene products and condoms
diapers, baby wipes, Q-tips and cotton balls
paper towels
toilet paper that is not septic-friendly
flushable facial tissues and wipes
cigarette butts
harsh chemicals, paints and varnishes

Read more...


Why do I have to have a Septic Tank Inspection?

Annually, the Amador Water Agency inspects each septic tank and takes measurements of the Scum and Sludge layers. Agency personnel will notify the homeowner when maintenance and cleaning activities are necessary.

When the Amador Water Agency notifies you of a need for maintenance, have the work completed in a timely manner. Delays in maintenance will only cause damage to your septic system, possible backups into your home or business and possibly cause damage to the community system. Whether it be cleaning a filter or screen, or having your tank pumped, avoid unnecessary future costs and have the work done promptly.

Back to top of Page

Water Quality

Is my water safe to drink?
If you are on the Amador Water System (AWS) treated system, the CAWP System, LaMel Heights or CSA 3 Camanche area, the answer is "yes". Our water meets all the health requirements set forth by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Health Services. The quality of the water is monitored continuously at the treatment plant and in the distribution system. However, isolated water quality impairments do occur, so if you do experience a change in the quality of water, notify Amador Water Agency at once at 209.223.3018.  If you are a raw water customer, your water is not safe to drink and you should be using bottled water as drinking water and for domestic household use.   Please see our Health Notice to Raw Water Customers

What is the definition of "safe water"?
Water that is safe to drink contains no impurities that would cause a person that drank the water to become ill. Safe water contains no pathogenic organisms or other contaminants that would render the water non-potable.
You hear a lot about tap water being unsafe, or that tap water is getting worse. Water suppliers say that the water is safe to drink. Who is right?
We all want the same thing: safe drinking water. Water quality standards are becoming stricter as scientists research the health effects of certain materials commonly found in drinking water. The media has helped the general public become more aware of water quality issues, and the public is demanding more information.
If my water is safe, why are scientists and engineers doing more and more and more research, and why is the government considering more and stricter regulations?
Even though our water is safe to drink for most people, it is not entirely risk free. Producing risk free water would make water too expensive. Government sets regulations that have an acceptable risk (very small). Every one wants to lower this risk even further, without adding a lot of costs. Also, researchers are looking for any new potential problems that might be uncovered.


Can I tell if my water is safe to drink by looking at it, smelling it, or tasting it?
No. None of the chemicals or microbes commonly found in water can be detected by these methods

How can I tell if my water is safe to drink?
If you are on your own private well, you can have the water analyzed for impurities by a private laboratory, or you can call the County Health Unit to see what help might be available there.  Local well drillers may also assist you with the taking of samples and having them tested. You should take that analysis to the Health Department for an interpretation if you have any questions. If you are connected to a public water supply, you can call the provider or the California Department of Health Services or (DHS) for information about water quality. When moving to a new area, this is something you should check out first.  The Water Agency publishes an annual report on water quality for all potable systems.  Check out the Annual Consumer Confidence Report found on our reports page. 

What is a boil water order about?
When a water system loses pressure due to a break or rupture in a water line, often the water company will isolate the break, in order to repair the line. When this happens, Amador Water Agency may issue a boil water order as a precaution against the possible entrance of contaminants into the system. Once the break is fixed and pressure is restored, the water company will flush the affected system and take samples for testing. If the samples show no coliform contamination for two consecutive days, then the boil water order is lifted. Residents re notified through "door hangers" or the media. Be sure to boil water used for drinking or cooking for at least five minutes. Also, discard your ice cubes in your icemaker.  The Water Agency may also issue a boil order if MCL’s (maximum contaminant levels) are exceeded or routine bacteriological testing indicates the possibility of contamination.

Is my drinking water completely free of microorganisms?
No. The water has been disinfected with chorine gas to kill all the pathogenic organisms (germs). Most microbes are harmless. 

What are coliforms, and what is going on?
Coliform bacteria are generally harmless bacteria that are found in the gut of warm-blooded animals and aid in digestion. The presence of coliform bacteria indicates that the water in unsafe to drink, because pathogenic bacteria are also found in the intestines of animals and humans. This is why coliforms are called indicator organisms. The presence or absence of coliforms in a water sample indicates whether or not the water is safe to drink.

Can the AIDS virus be transferred through the drinking water?
There is no evidence to suggest that that this is possible. People don’t get AIDS through ingestion of the virus, only through intimate contact with the blood. Also, chorine or other disinfectants kill viruses in the water. 

What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium is a parasite protozoan that can live in the intestine of humans and animals. Outside the host body, the protozoan becomes a cyst, very much like a seed, with a tough outer coating that is resistant to disinfection. Once swallowed, the protozoan emerges form the cysts, multiplies, and may cause the disease crytposporidiosis. In people with normal immune systems, this disease causes diarrhea and cramping for up to two weeks. Persons with compromised immune systems, such as people with AIDS or very young children, are at serious risk from this disease. Cryptosporidium is not present in all source water.  Cryptosporidium has been linked to source water where domestic animals such as cattle have direct access to the water or are in the water shed.  Filtration and disinfection remove the majority of cysts. Outbreaks of Cryptosporidium from drinking water are rare. If you think you are infected, you should see a doctor. Also, drinking water is not the only vector for this disease.  

Will home treatment device protect me from cryptosporidium?
Micro and ultra filtration systems will likely remove the cysts, but other systems will be somewhat effective to not at all effective.  Boiling the water will always work. 


   Back to top of Page

Chemical Questions

Are all chemicals in my drinking water bad for me?
No. Some chemicals, such as fluoride, in controlled amounts, has been shown to be beneficial in tooth decay prevention.  Others may be beneficial, or of no effect. Water is a chemical compound of hydrogen and oxygen. We depend on chemicals in food to keep us alive. Drinking water contains no calories, caffeine, fat, sugar, or cholesterol. 


Are chemicals that are found in water naturally (not because of pollution) safe to drink.
Not necessarily. Some chemicals that may be found in water naturally may be harmful, such as selenium, arsenic, and radon. Some harmless chemicals in water react with other chemicals and form harmful compounds. The U. S. E. P. A. requires public water purveyors to test for 100 different chemicals, and that list is expected to grow. If you want a current analysis of AWA’s water, please call the office at 209.223.3018 or write to: Amador Water Agency, 12800 Ridge Road, Sutter Creek, California 95685. 

I read that organic chemicals are dangerous. What are they, and why doesn’t the water company remove them from the water?
Organic chemicals contain carbon and hydrogen atoms linked together. Sugar is a common organic chemical, so not all organic chemicals are bad for you. Some, like gasoline, diesel fuel, and solvents, are carcinogens, that is, they may cause cancer. Conventional water treatment plants typically do not remove dissolved chemicals from the water, only particulate matter, such as bacteria and cysts. 

I heard that nitrate was bad for babies and pesticides are bad for everyone. How do these get in the water supply?
The EPA has set a maximum contaminant level for nitrates, since a high dose of nitrates has been linked with a rare blood disorder in infants called "blue baby syndrome", because the baby’s skin will have a bluish cast. Pesticides are organic chemicals that farmers use against insects. Private wells are the chief source of water contaminated with these chemicals. Nitrates may come from fertilizers or from human or animal wastes, such as feedlots or septic tanks. Anything applied to the land may wind up in the ground water, as rain percolates downward to the water table. 

Do hazardous wastes contaminate our drinking water?
Possibly. Runoff from hazardous waste disposal sites may contaminate the water. Leaking underground storage tanks may cause contamination of the ground water. This is why the government has such strict regulations for storage tanks and liners for toxic waste dumps and gas stations. 

How does lead get into the drinking water?
Not all drinking water contains lead. When household plumbing contains lead solder, and the water is in contact with the solder for long periods (like overnight), there may be some lead that does dissolve and enter the water. This is also a function of the corrosivity of the water. Very hard water tends to form a scale on the walls of the pipes, and seals the solder. Lead solder has been outlawed since 1986. Testing in Amador Water Systems has not detected any lead or copper in the system above action levels set by EPA. 

How do I get lead out of my drinking water?
Not all homes have a lead problem, but if testing indicates you have one, or, if you have rusty water or water leaves a blue stain in your sink, you may want to take precautions to protect yourself and your family. The best way is to flush the faucet or hydrant you will be drinking from for a few minutes before using the water for drinking. The time needed will vary from house to house; typically, you want ‘fresh" water from the public main line. 

Is the fluoride in my water safe?
Yes. Naturally occurring or added by the supplier, fluoride has been shown to greatly improve the dental health of the consumers. Fluoride and chlorine in the water make it unsuitable for kidney dialysis machines, however. 

Is the chlorine in the water safe?
Yes. The amount of chlorine typically used by water purveyors is safe. Some people do not like the taste, however. When Chlorine reacts with some naturally occurring chemicals in the water, disinfection byproducts are formed, which may cause cancer. EPA has established a maximum contaminant level for trihalomethanes, which is a group of disinfection byproducts. AWA’s water is under this level.  

Should I be concerned about the chlorine in the water I use for bathing?
No. Chlorine can’t be absorbed through the skin, and the amount of chlorine is too small to harm the skin itself. 

I heard aluminum is used to treat water. Does this cause Alzheimer’s disease?
The Amador Water Agency does not use aluminum to treat water.  However, most surface water treatment plants use alum or aluminum sulfate as a coagulant aid. This causes the small particles of dirt to become larger and heavier floc, which will settle out and be removed. Thus, very little, if any, aluminum stays in the water. Aluminum is present in large concentrations in foods such as tea. There is very little evidence to indicate that aluminum in drinking water is harmful. The EPA does not regulate aluminum. 

What is radon and is it harmful in drinking water?
Radon is a radioactive gas found in some groundwater supplies. Radon is formed by the natural decay of radium and uranium. Scientists believe that long term exposure to radon causes cancer. Most exposure to radon comes from the ground underneath the residence through the air and into the lungs. EPA will set standards for radon in drinking water in the near future. If you suspect radon in your home, call the local health department. 

Why does my water taste or smell funny?
Taste is very subjective, but most taste and odor problems are associated with algae or fungi present in the water supply. Chlorine, added to the water to kill germs, may react with organic chemicals and cause a bad taste. An earthy smell or taste is caused by the presence of Actinomycetes (a harmless fungus) in the raw water supply. A rotten egg odor (caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide) may be present in a well supply. In small amounts these things are harmless. Point of use water treatment devices may help the situation some. If you have a water quality problem, call the Water Agency or your water purveyor right away. 

What can I do if my drinking water tastes funny?
You could store some water in a glass container in the refrigerator.
Aerate the water with a blender or mixer.
Boil it, then refrigerate it.
Add a little lemon juice to drinking water. 


My well water is reddish brown. Is it safe to drink?
The chemicals in the water that cause it to be colored are non-toxic, but not completely harmless. Iron is the culprit usually, and can cause stains and discolorations of clothing and fixtures. The iron is coming from the well water, or the pipes, or the hot water heater. Water softeners can help with this problem. Letting the water run usually lets it clear up.  We recommend taking samples to a lab for testing.  

My water is black. What causes this, and is it harmful?
A metal called manganese, which occurs naturally in water, is colorless and harmless. When combined with chlorine, it becomes black. If you have manganese, you may want to install a filter or other point of use water treatment system. 
Please do not hesitate to call the Amador Water Agency if you have any concerns with the appearance, feel, taste or smell of your water.  Please call the Amador Water Agency if your water changes from its normal characteristics.

Do we have fluoride in the water?
No, fluoride is not available at this time.  In systems of 10,000+ connections, fluoride is required by State Regulations.


Back to top of Page

Household Facts

Should I install a home water treatment system?
This is a personal decision. If you are connected to a public water supply, your water already meets federal requirements for safety. Some people do not like the taste of their water and might consider installing a point-of entry (POE) treatment system. However, these systems require maintenance could possibly cause problems for you. Some types of POE’s are:
Particulate filters: these remove most of the rust and manganese particles.
Adsorption filters: commonly called charcoal or activated charcoal, these are not filters at all. The charcoal attracts organic chemicals and binds them.
Oxidation/filtration systems: these will help with iron and rotten egg odors.
Water softening/ion exchange: Exchange ions that cause hardness for some that don’t.
Reverse osmosis: remove nitrates, metals, and hardness ions. Produce small quantities of water.
Distillation units: boil the water and condense the steam. Remove inorganic and organic chemicals, fluoride, etc. Takes a lot of energy to make a little water.
 

What is hard water?

Hard water is caused by the presence of two naturally occurring elements: calcium and magnesium. Hard water makes it "hard", or difficult to make a lather with soap. Soft water indicates the relative absence of hardness, and is easy to make a lather.
Surface-water facilities are 12.1 ppm (mg/L)
Ground-water facilities range from 20 (LaMel) - 73 (CSA3) ppm (mg/L)
Classification mg/l or ppm grains/gal
Soft 0 - 17.1 0 - 1
Slightly hard 17.1 - 60 1 - 3.5
Moderately hard 60 - 120 3.5 - 7.0
Hard 120 - 180 7.0 - 10.5
Very Hard 180 & over 10.5 & over

Amador Water System = Soft
CAWP Systems= Soft
La Mel = Slightly Hard
CSA3 Well 6 (73) Moderately Hard
CSA3 Well 9 (55) Slightly Hard
CSA3 Well 12A (63) Moderately Hard


Should I install a water softener in my home?
If you are bothered by gummy, curd-like deposits in your bathtub, or a hard, white scale on your cooking utensils, a water softener might be right for you.  Many wells in the area have hard water.  Only buy from reputable dealers that will keep your equipment serviced for you. 

Why do my ice cubes give off white stuff when they melt in my glass?
Inorganic chemicals such as those that cause hardness may precipitate (form a solid, and settle out) as ice melts. This is not toxic.
 
Should I buy bottled water?
This is a personal decision. Remember that public water systems are under closer scrutiny by the government than water bottlers are. Also, bottled water may cost as much as 1000 times as much as water from your local water purveyor. Check the label carefully some of the meaningful terms are:
Artesian: Water that came from an aquifer that is overlain with rock stratum that is not an aquifer, causing the water to rise in the well.
Groundwater: water form an aquifer not under the influence of surface water; water found on ground surface such as a creek, stream, or lake.
Aquifer: Water yielding rock formations or strata.
Mineral water: Water having not less than 250 milligrams per liter total dissolved solids, originating from a well.
Purified or demineralized: Water that has undergone dome treatment to remove contaminants.
Sparking water: carbonation added.
Spring water: surface water emanating directly from a groundwater source. 


Is bottled water safe to store?
No. Bottled water, like any food, has a shelf life, especially since most bottled water has no or very little chlorine. If you are storing water for an emergency, it’s best to use cold tapwater in clean, plastic bottles. This water should be changed out frequently, since chlorine will dissipate slowly, and microbes will grow. 

What is the average water consumption per day per individual?
This number varies greatly due to factors such as irrigation. It has been estimated that a person will use 50 gallons of water per day for eating and bathing. In the United States, the average water consumption per capita is about 180 gallons, which includes all agricultural and industrial uses. AWA customers use approximately 250-400 gallons per day per household on an average day.  This may double on hot days especially when irrigating or watering lawns. If your metered water consumption rises unexpectedly, you may have a leak.  If you suspect a leak, call the Water Agency for the methods used to determine if there is a leak or for direction on how to check for the possibility of a leak.

Where does the water go when it goes down the drain?
If you are on the community sewer system, the water and all the waste carried in it becomes wastewater, and travels down pipes in the collection system, to be treated and discharged. If you are on a septic tank, wastewater goes into a septic tank, then into a leach field, and then into the groundwater, or, it may be drawn into the root system of plants and discharged into the atmosphere through transpiration. Water is used over and over again and circulates through the hydrologic cycle. 

What can I pour safely down the drain or into the toilet?
Before you buy, think environmentally friendly. Buy environmentally friendly products whenever possible. When you do buy chemicals, buy just enough. Check with the local sanitation department about reuse or recycle centers. Read the label for acceptable means of disposal. The best practice is to not put anything down the sink or toilet. If you are on a septic system, don’t put anything down the drain that will not decompose easily.  Never pour paint, paint cleaners, paint thinner, gasoline, or oils down drains.  If you have a concern or there is a question as to what can be poured down the drain, call the County Environmental Health Agency at 209.223.6429 or the AWA or wastewater provider in your area.  

What is the cost of water I use in my home?
That depends on who your water purveyor is, but, in the U. S., the average cost of water is about $2 per thousand gallons. Contact your water purveyor for a list of water and sewer rates.

Why do hot water tanks fail?
The natural properties of water make holes in the metal walls of a water tank. Eventually, the holes will rust through the wall of the tank, causing it to leak and fail. Some areas are served by hard water, which causes a hard scale to form around the heating units, causing them to burn out. This whitish deposit is called lime, or calcium carbonate. 

How should I fill my fish aquarium?
First, let a gallon or so of water run down the drain, in case there might be some residual copper or zinc from your household plumbing. This water could be saved for watering plants, as a conservation measure. Next, fill the aquarium to the desired level, making sure the water falls at least three feet into the tank. This adds oxygen to the water. Let the water reach room temperature before adding fish. Also, you may want to consult your pet shop about removing chlorine from the water. 

How does the Water Agency know how much water I use?
Most Amador Water Agency services are metered; that is, there is a water meter in the line from the water main in the street or easement to your house. All water going to your home passes through this meter. The meter is located in a box in the ground with a lid. If you want to read your own meter, contact Amador Water Agency to find out your meter number, and other details on how to read your own meter. 

How do I know my meter is accurately reading my water consumption?
Amador Water Agency has a program to regularly check the meters in the system for accuracy. If you have a sudden change in your consumption for no apparent reason (out of town, houseguests, watering the lawn or garden) contact AWA. We are only human and sometimes we make mistakes. Usually, when a meter fails, it begins to run slower, not faster.  A sudden increase in usage may indicate a leak is present.  Even a dripping faucet or leaky toilet will cause a significant increase in water usage.   A ½ gallon per minute leak will accumulate 720 gallons per day or about 21,600 gallons per month.   A dripping faucet could amount to 25 gallons per day or about ½ of what a typical person uses for consumption and bathing. 

What do people use the most water on?
Toilet flushing is the biggest single use in the home. Most toilets use between 4 and 6 gallons per flush. Not counting lawn watering, the next largest use is the bathtub or shower. Very little is used for drinking (about 3 percent). 

Can I put a brick in my toilet tank to conserve water?
Yes, it is possible to save on water consumption by displacing some of the water used for flushing. Since bricks can crumble and damage the flushing mechanism, it’s probably a better idea to use a plastic or glass container. Experiment to see if the remaining volume of water will adequately flush water down the toilet.  Newer homes may have low flow toilets.  Check with the manufacturer of your toilet. 

How can I save water and save on my water bill?
Practice water conservation in your home! Get everyone in your household educated on how to conserve water. Get in the habit of conserving water. Amador Water Agency has more information on conservation available at the office. Call us at the office at 209-223-3018 or come by, at 12800 Ridge Road, Sutter Creek, California. 

Back to top of Page

Water Sources

Where does my water come from?
The primary source of consumptive water is the Mokelumne River which is supplied from rainfall and snowmelt from the Sierra Mountain Range.  This water is diverted from the Tiger Creek afterbay or Lake Tabeaud forebay and then either it gravity flows or is pumped to our treatment plants. The Agency’s two main water systems are the Amador Water System (AWS) and the Upcountry Central Amador Water Project System (CAWP).  The Agency supplies drinking water to the cities of Jackson, Ione, Sutter Creek, Amador City, the communities along the Highway 88 corridor, and the Lake Camanche area and other surrounding areas.  If you are not an Amador Water Agency customer, call your water purveyor to get more details. 

How much water is used in America each day?
There is about 37 billion gallons of tap water produced daily. Agriculture is the biggest user of water, using about 200 billion gallons every day. Industrial water usage is estimated at 160 billion gallons per day. 

Are we running out of water?
The amount of water on the globe is constant. Periodic, localized shortages of water do occur. These are called droughts.  Amador Water Agency has very good water rights and is blessed with a high quality water source – the Mokelumne River. 

How does nature recycle water?
The earth constantly recycles water through the hydrologic cycle. Water in streams and rivers, which contain contaminants and pollutants, is warmed by the sun, causing an increase in evaporation. Water lost through the leaves of green plants is call transpiration. The gaseous water raises, and is cooled in the atmosphere, making clouds. When conditions are right, the water falls to the Earth as rain, refilling the streams, lake, oceans, and aquifers. The processes of evaporation and transpiration purify the water. In lakes and streams, algae and microbes eat certain contaminants, removing the pollutants from water. 

Back to top of Page

Mission Statement:
To enhance the quality of life in Amador County by providing safe, reliable water, wastewater, conservation and reclamation services. We will accomplish this as a professional team dedicated to public transparency, community partnerships and excellent customer service.


Amador Water Agency
12800 Ridge Road, Sutter Creek, California
Office Hours Mon - Fri. 8:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m.
209-223-3018
209-257-5281 (FAX)

© Amador Water Agency
logo