Baja Rentals Need Water! - the King Utility!
Here in northern Baja, it rains about 9 to 10 inches a year. So in the future, a desalination plant would be welcomed as growth continues. But not only is the lack of rain a concern, but so is the lack of plumbing! This is shown in that not all Baja homes have water piped in from the local water company, and you as a Baja renter definitely need to know how you are going to be supplied water and how much is it going to cost you monthly in both time and money. So before you sign a rental agreement, know how you are going to be supplied with water.
In Baja, most homes on the west side, or ocean side, of the free road and toll road have water piped in by the local water company, whether you are in a condo tower or a single family home. And in this case, almost everyone gets a water bill directly from the water company.
The water company, known by their acronym: CESPT, is pronounced “cespt.” Pronounce the “c” as in central. Most locals in Baja don't know what the acronym CESPT stands for and there is not need to try to memorize it or figure it out. But the name of the utiltiy company in full is La Comisión Estatal de Servicios Públicos de Tijuana (CESPT)
CESPT - Supplies most Baja Rentals with Water
Most rental properties here in Baja do get water from the CESPT. The majority will agree that this scenario is the least expensive and easiest way to be supplied water. The CESPT is a very easy utility company to deal with. The utility bill comes to your door monthly, and you pay your water bill at the water company. It is that simple.
Truckin in Baja - Water for your Rental
If you find a rental home in northern Baja in which water is not provided by the CESPT, then you have to get water delivered to you by truck. The truck comes by and fills up a water tank made of concrete that is usually located below the garage of the house.
With this scenario, plan on spending about $25 to $100 dollars a month for water, of course depending on usage. Having water delivered to you by truck is easy here in Baja, but you do have the extra job of keeping an eye on your water tank so you don't get stuck without water.
When your tank gets down to about 25%, call the truck drivers for the next load. Or better yet, set up a schedule with the trucker driver once you know about how much you are using monthly. For example, have the water delivered every Thursday. Have your cleaning lady or gardener help keep an eye on the water level for you.
At the time of this writing, depending on the size of the water tank the truck carries, and the driving distance it is to your house, you will most likely spend about $20 dollars to $30 dollars a truck load of water.
On average, each water truck can carry about 4000 liters. Just pay the driver with cash when they show up.
The water truck driver is called a “pipero” (pronounced 'pee-pe-ro') here in Baja. As you shop for a rental in Baja you may not be interested in a house that has a "pila," water tank system. You may think it is just too much work and worry, and not worth the hassle. But wait, here is the good news: this small hassle will save you a lot of money in rent! These single family homes may still have excellent ocean views, can be filled with a lot of house amenities, be in gated communities, but will allow you to save about 25% on your rental compared to a home that does have all the water piped in by the CESPT.
Baja Water - Two Unique Scenarios
If you are going to sign a long-term rental agreeement, then you should ask about about these two variances concerning water before you make a commitment and sign on the dotted line.
Is the rental property on Ejido land? Ejido water can be a good deal. Many Ejidos here in Baja have very good water rights and you can get that savings as a renter. If you rent a home in which the Ejido supplies water ask if water is included for a fixed rate. Some Ejidos offer all the water you need for a fixed monthly rate, and some Ejidos offer all the water you need for a fixed yearly rate. Some Ejidos even include the water delivery service by truck if necessary, for one fixed monthly rate.
Is the rental property within an area that the CESPT treats as a commercial area? The next variance is that some communities are treated by the CESPT as being a commercial zone since homes were put up by developers for resale. This means that even though your water bill comes directly to your door from the CESPT, it doesn't mean that it is going to be cheap. These water bills tend to be in the $25 to $100 range, reasonable, but not as inexpensive as a residential zone.