Variance Requests and Cost Recovery Fee

Under the Emergency Water Regulations, a customer can file a hardship variance from the drought restrictions if, due to particular circumstances, a specific requirement of the regulations would result in undue hardship. Customers are required to file an application for variance, along with supporting documentation.

Requests for a variance must meet specific requirements to be granted by the City, specifically:

  1. That the variance does not constitute a grant of special privilege inconsistent with the limitations upon other City of San Diego customers; and
  2. That because of special circumstances applicable to the property or its use, the strict application of the Emergency Water Regulations would have a disproportionate impact on the property or use that exceeds the impacts to customers generally; and
  3. That the authorization of the variance will not be substantially detrimental to adjacent properties, and will not materially affect the ability of the City to carry out the purpose of the Emergency Water Regulations and will not be detrimental to the public interest; and
  4. That the condition or situation of the property or the intended use of the property for which the variance is requested is not common, recurrent or general in nature.

For more information, PDF icon read §67.3810 of the San Diego Municipal Code for all information related to the Hardship Variance.

There is a non-refundable processing fee as part of the variance request. Variance requests from larger customers generally require more time to process and therefore a higher fee is required. The fees are based on meter size:

  • $25 -- ¾-inch and 1-inch meters (single family residence, very small commercial properties)
  • $50 -- 1½-inch and 2-inch meters (medium commercial properties and most irrigation meters)
  • $100 -- 2-inch meters and larger (large commercial properties)

You may request a variance by submitting one of the following forms: