hands shaking abaove a contract

Purchasing Goods and Services to Support Essential Work

The Water Authority purchases a variety of goods and services — including materials, supplies, equipment, maintenance services, professional and non-professional services, and construction services – through a variety of procurement methods.

For questions, contact the Purchasing team at vendors@sdcwa.org

Procurement Methods

Water Authority procurement methods include competitive bidding, competitive proposals, requests for qualifications, and direct purchases – each conducted in compliance with the agency’s Administrative Code.

Competitive bidding is typically used for procurement of materials, supplies and equipment, maintenance and non-professional services, and construction. For competitive bids, the Water Authority generally issues a Notice Inviting Bids. Competitive proposals are used for professional and technical services where the contractor’s approach to the work and other factors are evaluated before making an award.  For competitive proposals, the Water Authority generally issues a Request for Proposals.

Requests for qualifications are used when the scope of work is broadly defined. This method is used for either making an award to the most qualified respondent or for pre-qualifying potential respondents for a subsequent competitive solicitation.

Cooperative procurements are purchases of goods and services made under the terms and conditions of another public agency’s contract when that contract includes a provision known as a Public Agency Clause that extends its pricing, terms, and conditions to other public agencies. Before using such contracts, staff verifies that the public entity has based its procurement on competitive pricing procedures and that the purchase is in the best interest of the Water Authority.

Direct purchases are authorized when specific conditions are met that allow exemption from competitive procurement.

When more than one method of procurement is available, the Water Authority chooses the method that will best fit its needs, provide the best value, and promote competition. 

Bid Submittal

A sealed bidding process is typically conducted for the following procurements above $10,000:

  • Materials, supplies and equipment
  • Maintenance and non-professional services
  • Construction

Notices Inviting Bids (NIB) specify the time and place of bid opening. The NIB includes the applicable project information and bid submittal requirements.

A bid is late if it is received at the location designated in the NIB after the date and time set for bid opening. A late bid will be rejected and will remain the property of the bidder.

Once the deadline for submission of bids has passed, the bid results are posted.

Proposal Submittal

The Water Authority solicits professional and technical services through Requests for Proposals (RFP) and/or Requests for Qualifications (RFQ).

The Water Authority uses competitive proposals primarily for professional and technical services. Proposals are solicited through an RFP, which states the relative importance of price and other evaluation factors.

A pre-proposal meeting may be conducted before submission of proposals to explain the scope of work and proposal requirements. Attendance at a pre-proposal meeting may be designated as mandatory for the submission of a proposal.

The contract, if awarded, is to the responsible and responsive offeror whose proposal is determined to be the most advantageous to the Water Authority in accordance with the RFP’s procedures for evaluation of proposals. The Water Authority may reject all proposals if it is in the public interest.

After a proposer is selected, the award of a contract is contingent upon the successful negotiation of terms and fees, and approval by the Water Authority.

Compliance with SB 854

All contractors and subcontractors must comply with Senate Boll 854 of 2014, which requires that contractors and subcontractors register with the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations  (pursuant to Labor Code section 1725.5).

In compliance with SB 854, the Water Authority requires all contractors and subcontractors to be registered with DIR before bidding on any public works project. Bids from contractors or subcontractors that are not registered as required will be deemed nonresponsive. No contractor or subcontractor will be allowed to work on a Water Authority project unless they are properly  are registered with the DIR.

In addition, contractors and subcontractors will be required to upload electronically certified payroll records (eCPRs) to the Labor Commissioner for all new public works projects. 

What does the Water Authority Purchase?

The Water Authority procures a wide variety of goods and services, many of which are purchased infrequently or in small quantities. They include:

Materials, supplies and equipment:

•    Auto parts (i.e. engine parts, tires, lubricants, etc.)
•    Computer equipment and software
•    Facility supplies (janitorial, tools, locks)
•    Furniture (i.e. desks, chairs, book shelves)
•    Office supplies/equipment
•    Outreach promotional items (i.e. cups, pins, magnets, pens, etc.)
•    Oxygen sensors
•    Pipe materials
•    Paper
•    Pressure transmitters
•    Radio equipment
•    Surveying equipment
•    T-shirts
•    Valves/meters
•    Vehicles

Services: maintenance, non-professional, professional and construction services

•    Acquisition (land) services
•    Automotive
•    Corrosion engineer and technician services
•    Crane inspection
•    Document shredding/storage
•    Electrical
•    Elevator
•    Environmental (i.e. erosion control, vegetation cutting, wetland mitigation, habitat restoration)
•    Fence installation
•    Financial consulting
•    Fire extinguisher services
•    Fire system inspection
•    Heavy equipment rental (i.e. cranes, generators, boom lifts, ventilators)
•    Heating and air conditioning preventative maintenance
•    Information systems consulting
•    Janitorial
•    Landscaping
•    Painting
•    Pest control
•    Photographic services
•    Pipeline relining
•    Printing/graphic design
•    Re-vegetation monitoring
•    Survey Services
•    Temporary staffing
•    Traffic control
•    Tree trimming/removal
•    Uniform rental
•    Video production
•    Water quality testing
•    Welding

Cooperative Contracts

The following list of procurements were competitively solicited and included a public agency clause. Public agencies have the option to participate at the same contract pricing, terms, and conditions.

New Vendor Form For Payment

New vendors who receive contracts or purchase orders from the San Diego County Water Authority must fill out a New Vendor Form and submit it by fax, email, or U.S. mail.

To request the New Vendor Form, email accountspayable@sdcwa.org

San Diego County Water Authority
Accounts Payable Team – Finance Department

4677 Overland Avenue
San Diego, CA

FAX:  (858) 522-6561


Payment Terms

Invoices must be submitted to Water Authority staff requesting procurement. Unless a specific term discount is offered, the Water Authority generally makes payment within 30 calendar days after receipt of invoice. When a vendor offers a payment discount, the Water Authority takes this into consideration when making payment.

No charge for packing or transportation will be allowed unless specified in the purchase order. Materials must be packed and shipped in conformity with tariff or classifications to secure lowest possible freight rates. All materials furnished under a Water Authority contract are subject to test and inspection, and, if rejected, are held subject to order of shipper, with accrued charges. Until delivery and acceptance, and after any rejection, risk of loss or damage to items is upon the vendor.

Inspection and acceptance occurs at the destination unless specified otherwise and is performed by Water Authority staff listed in the shipping address or another duly authorized representative of the agency. The Water Authority has no obligation to accept damaged shipments, over-shipments, goods shipped in error, or other non-conformity, and the agency reserves the right to return at the vendor’s expense non-conforming items even though the non-conformity was not discovered until after receipt.

Purchasing Code of Ethics

The Water Authority’s Purchasing Code of Ethics was adopted in 2003 and revised in 2018. It says the Water Authority will:

  • Conduct procurement in accordance with the Administrative Code.
  • Obtain maximum value for each dollar spent.
  • Decline personal favors, gifts, and gratuities.
  • Grant all competitive vendors and contractors fair and equal consideration.
  • Conduct business with potential and current vendors and contractors in an atmosphere of good faith.
  • Accord a prompt and courteous response to all who call on legitimate business.
  • Create an environment of fair, ethical, and legal business practices.
  • Encourage support for the Small Contractor Outreach and Opportunities Program (SCOOP).
  • Protect the Water Authority’s interest by ensuring that all vendors and contractors honor all terms of their contracts.