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Water Credits in Carmel, CA

Water Credits in Carmel, CA

Carmel water conservation efforts are high, as we have a limited supply unlike many areas across California. A “water credit” refers to a fixture value, for example, a washbasin (fixture) equals 1.0 water credits, and a toilet (1.6 gal/flush) equals 1.7 water credits. In addition to water credits, Carmel also has “water use credits” which are time limited, and are documented when water fixtures are removed from residential properties, or when there is a permanent abandonment of use, which occurs when a building is demolished.

When buying a home in Carmel you’re going to want to know how many water credits come with the house you’re looking at. The number of water credits available limits what you can do with the property, when it comes to adding a bathroom, sink or anything that uses water. If you’re looking at a home that only has 2 bathrooms, and you really want at least 2.5 baths, unfortunately it might not be as easy as just installing a powder room. If there’s not enough water credits already recorded for that home, then you’re most likely out of luck.

The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) sole job is to protect our water supply in Carmel and Monterey County. As a Carmel home owner, you must obtain a permit from the MPWMD before you can add water fixtures to your property. When you purchase an already built home, the property comes with a finite number of water credits that are actually recorded with the deed of the property. With each home sale, the MPWMD inspects the home and records each water using fixture and its assigned credit amount. As a buyer, you will get a copy of this during the escrow period as part of your due diligence.

However, there are a few additional options you might be lucky enough to take advantage of:

  • If you’re looking at a property in Pebble Beach and there isn’t enough water credits, you can actually purchase water credits directly from the Pebble Beach Company.
  • OR, if you live within the 93921 (Carmel-by-the-sea) zip code, the Carmel River Watershed, and within the Cal-Am service area; good news you can purchase water credits through the Mal Paso Company Water Entitlement. The Mal Paso Water Company is selling newly available Carmel River ground water credits from the Eastwood Trust’s 82 acre Odello East Property.
  • Lastly and this option doesn’t really work for everyone. A while back the MPWMD acknowledged that in today’s world it is reasonable for any house to have at least 2 bathrooms. Thus Ordinance 98 was born, which will allow you to add a second bath to a one bath home even if that one bath home is deficient in water credits. Of course there are some restrictions; yes, you get that second bath for free, but that doesn’t mean you can also then add a half bath as well, also the one bath home can’t be new, it has to have been an existing dwelling, as in, you can’t build a one bath home today and then add a second one in a couple of years. For more info click on the link above.

Unfortunately at this time, you’re not allowed to buy or transfer water credits anywhere else on the peninsula. If you have any further questions or need more clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Carmel Brokers at, 866-538-6057.

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