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North Marin Water District

Administration - Frequently Asked Questions


The “service charge” covers the cost of reading, maintaining and replacing your water meter, conducting the consumer accounting, rendering the bill, and a small portion to cover the fixed costs.
Yes. North Marin Water District provides an Automatic Payment Service (APS) for our customers. Once you subscribe to this service, your financial institution will deduct funds from your checking account to pay your NMWD bills. You'll continue to receive your bimonthly statement and you'll have seven to ten days to review it before your bank pays the amount due. For an APS application, call (415) 897-4133.
Late charges are assessed if your water bill is not paid by the due date.


Only one Reminder Notice will be issued after the regular bill is mailed.  The Reminder Notice will be mailed 10 days prior to the due date.  All charges are due, in full, by the due date. 

CHARGES: (Late and Turn-Off)

Charges will be assessed based on the number of times a customer has failed to pay by the due date in the past 12 months

First Time:

A letter is sent to the customer stating that we did not receive payment by the due date.  A $6.00 Late Payment Charge is then added to their account.  To avoid additional charges, payment must be received in the NMWD office within 48 hours.

Second Time:

A letter is sent to the customer stating that we did not receive payment by the due date.  A $20.00 Late Payment Charge is then added to their account.  To avoid additional charges, payment must be received in the NMWD office within 48 hours. 

Each Time Thereafter:

A service representative will go to the consumer’s service location and water service will be shut off.  Service will not be resumed until payment is received or arrangements made with office staff in the office.  A "Notice to Consumer" tag will be left stating water has been shut off and a $25.00 Trip Charge will be added to their next bill.   

Turn On Charges:

$35.00 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.)

$60.00 (evenings, weekends, and holidays)

            This information is passed on to the consumer by the answering service

In order to be considered for an adjustment, the consumer must take corrective action within 48 hours of discovering a leak and provide NMWD with proof of repair within 30 days from the billing date of the period in which the water loss occurred. Water loss adjustments are limited to one adjustment every two years.
NMWD meter registers in 748-gallon increments (1 CCF or hundred cubic feet). The meter readers always round consumption figures down to the nearest 748-gallon increment. This practice can result in duplicate billing amounts.
NMWD bills for service shall be due and payable upon deposit in the United States mail or upon presentation to the customer. A bill is delinquent if payment is not received at NMWD's office by the due date printed on the bill, which is typically 25 days following the date the bill is mailed to the customer by NMWD.
In special circumstances, NMWD can work out payment arrangements for customers. Please call (415) 897-4133 during business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). A Customer Services Representative can help you.
You can pay your water bill at the NMWD office at 999 Rush Creek Place, Novato (there is a drop box available for payments made after hours).

You can mail your payment to:

North Marin Water District
Payment Center
P.O. Box 511529
Los Angeles, CA 90051-8084

You can pay on-line by going to

North Marin Water District’s office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Office is closed on weekends and holidays.
Yes, the District currently accepts payments by either Visa or MasterCard.
Customers who have complaints concerning their water bill may appeal to the supervisor of the customer services department.  Any request for investigation of a disputed bill must be made to NMWD in writing.  A disputed account will not be accepted as justification for nonpayment of a water bill, and payment in full shall be made pending settlement of the dispute.
Meters are read every 59-63 days.
NMWD has "hydrant" meters that can be rented. A hydrant meter is simply a large water meter that is attached to a fire hydrant. A greater volume of water can be delivered through a hydrant meter than through most household meters. There is a rental fee for the meter in addition to the cost of water used.
The water industry standard by which water volume is measured is cubic feet, even though most people have a much better understanding of gallons than they do of cubic feet (7.48 gallons = 1 cubic foot). Changing existing water meters to read in gallons at this point in time would be a very costly proposition.
Nothing lasts forever, and meters, like most things in life, tend to slow down with age. Based on sample tests, we have determined that water meters are accurate for about 20 years. The meter manufacturer certifies the accuracy of your new water meter.
The meter readers have a plastic tube, which is sealed with a clear plastic lens on one end. The meter reader places the tube on top of the meter register to obtain the numerical reading. The clear plastic tube displaces the murky water, providing the meter reader a clear line of sight to capture the reading.
We dig out the meter box just enough to expose the register cap, wipe off the face of the register above the numerical dial, and get the reading. It doesn't matter if the meter itself is buried. Meter readers often rub their meter hook (the tool they use to remove the meter box lid) over the face of the register to expose the numerical dial. If you suspect your meter is not being read, read it yourself and compare the results to the reading printed on your water bill. Be sure to make allowances for any difference between the day you read the water meter and the day it is read by the NMWD meter reader.
All of our residential water meters (meters 1" in size and smaller) are positive displacement meters. The manufacturer certifies the accuracy of the meters when they are new. With age and extended usage, they either maintain their accuracy or they slow down. 
Your water service begins at your water meter. A service lateral, or pipe, runs from the water main in your street to your water meter. The service lateral and water meter is owned and maintained by NMWD. The pipe that runs from the water meter to your home belongs to you and is your responsibility to maintain and replace as required.
We periodically test water meters in the field to verify their accuracy and to develop replacement and maintenance criteria. With accurate meters, we know that consumers are charged for the water they actually use.
The meter is usually located near the curb in front of your house and in a direct line with the outside main faucet or house valve (where you turn your water off to your house or business). The meter is usually housed in a concrete or plastic meter box marked “NMWD” or “Water”. If you have trouble locating your meter, call NMWD at (415) 897-4133.

To check the meter, put on gloves, and insert a tool such as a screwdriver in the hole and pry open the concrete or plastic lid. A concrete lid is heavy, so be careful when handling it. (Do not use your fingers.) Set the lid aside and check carefully inside the meter box to avoid contact with insects or rodents. To read the meter, lift the cover. (Always replace the cover on your water meter after you are finished.)

This is a good opportunity to make sure your meter box is accessible by clearing out vegetation or debris that may be blocking access to the meter.

To read your Neptune E-Coder® register, expose the solar panel to sunlight or shine a bright light (i.e. flashlight or cell phone flashlight), and the display will activate. When activated, the LCD display will first show a segment test:

This screen will be followed by the display of the E-Coder’s manufacturing configuration, followed by two (2) reading screens:

Reading - Shows the current read with comma separators and decimal place, after initial activation this screen displays for 20 seconds before toggling to Rate Screen. Each additional Read Screen displays for 8 seconds. The below image shows a reading value of 179.21 (one hundred, seventy-nine) US gallons.

Flow Rate - When the screen toggles, the rate of flow is visible and is shown in gallons per minute for four seconds. Then it toggles back to the read screen. The image below shows a flow rate of 50.7 (fifty) gpm.

Your water meter is an important water conservation tool. In addition to providing you with information about how much water you are using, reading your meter can also help you detect leaks in your household plumbing. To check for a leak, you must first turn off all faucets inside and outside your house. Be certain the toilet is not flushed and the automatic ice cube maker is not operating when performing this task.

When the water is turned off, the low flow indicator should not move. A circular motion by the indicator suggests a leak.

Records are kept on the location of each water meter, with measurements to other prominent objects so that the meter can be found if it becomes buried. NMWD also maintains records on the age of the service, size and type of piping and if the meter has ever been moved, upsized or replaced. If you need to locate your meter, call NMWD at (415) 897-4133.
Reading your meter can help you detect leaks in your household plumbing.
The size of your water meter is shown on your bill. Most single-family residential customers have 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch or one-inch meters.
Follow these simple instructions to find out if a leaky toilet is robbing you of precious gallons and dollars.

You can detect a leak by removing the toilet tank lid and placing leak detection dye tablets, a few drops of food coloring, or some laundry-bluing agent in the toilet tank. Do not flush the toilet. If you see color in the toilet bowl after 15 minutes, you have a leak.

Two common toilet leak locations are at the overflow pipe or the flapper valve.

To determine if the leak is at the overflow pipe, look for water flowing over the top of the overflow pipe. If it is overflowing, the water level is too high. If you have a toilet manufactured before 1982 that uses 5-7 gallons per flush, you can adjust the water level by gently bending the float arm down so that the valve shuts off when the water level is a half-inch below the top of the overflow pipe. Many 3.5-gallon toilets (manufactured after 1982) can also be adjusted the same way. Some 3.5-gallon toilets, or ultra low flow toilets that use 1.6 gallons or less per flush, may have an adjustment screw on the float arm to lower the water level.  Sometimes the ballcock assembly itself is worn, causing water to run continuously into the tank. If the ballcock assembly is worn, it needs to be replaced.

If the leak is not at the overflow pipe, check the flapper valve. If it appears to be deteriorated or does not seal completely, it should be replaced. You can find a replacement flapper valve at your local hardware store.

If your toilet still leaks, you may need the assistance of a plumber or handyman.