Flood of Distrust: A Deep Dive Into San Diego’s Water Department

Can ratepayers trust the city of San Diego’s water department? NBC 7 Responds has been investigating the department for more than a year and chronicles their investigation in this special report.


What started as a trickle of billing complaints surged into a flash flood of allegations raised about the city of San Diego’s Water Department. NBC 7 Responds' investigation into billing errors led to the discovery of faulty water meters and a lack of transparency over the city's multi-million-dollar smart meter program. Some of the team’s findings have led to the department taking corrective action. "Flood of Distrust" will give you an inside look at the investigative journey from start to finish.

Part I of Flood of Distrust, an NBC 7 Responds Special.

Part One – Trust In: Water Bills

This story began in 2017 as customers across the city of San Diego began to question unexplainable high water bills. Those customers said the San Diego’s Public Utilities Department put the blame on them, but something didn’t seem right. That’s when NBC 7 Responds’ investigation began.

Part II of Flood of Distrust, an NBC 7 Responds Special.

Part Two – Trust In: Water Meters

A customer’s water meter is the link between the utility and their home. When customers started questioning the accuracy of their water meter, NBC 7 Responds put the meters, and the city, to the test.

Part III of Flood of Distrust, and NBC 7 Responds Special.

Part Three – Trust In: Smart Meter Program

Six years ago, the Public Utilities Department committed to replace every water meter in the city with new, wireless smart meters. But where are things now? NBC 7 Responds looks into the program’s costs and how it will impact customers moving forward.

Part IV of Flood of Distrust, and NBC 7 Responds Special.

Part Four – Winning Back Customer Trust

After a year of internal investigations and audits, what can the city do to gain back the trust of San Diego’s ratepayers? NBC 7 Responds looks at customer service and what needs to change in the future.

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