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How to reduce your water bills

Unlike gas and electricity companies, you can't choose who supplies your water – so you can't switch to another water supplier. But there are still ways that you may be able to save money on your water bills.

How are my water bills calculated?

  • If you don’t have a water meter, you'll be charged a set amount for water and sewage services, regardless of how much water you actually use. This amount is based on your home’s rateable value.
  • If you have a water meter, you’ll be charged for the actual units of water you use. All properties built since 1990 have a water meter installed.

What is rateable value?

A property's rateable value is based on how much the property could be let for. Before April 1990, every property in England and Wales was given a rateable value.

If your property has changed a lot since its rateable value was set then you may be able to get a water meter fitted instead. A good general rule is that you could pay less on your water bills if there are fewer people in your property than there are bedrooms. 

How can I save money on my water bills?

There are some simple things you can do to reduce your water usage and therefore the cost of your water bills, for example:

Fix dripping taps or leaks

Dripping or leaking taps can waste the equivalent of half a bath of water per week and it'll cost you extra if you use a water meter, so it's a good idea to get these fixed.

Take showers instead of baths

If you can, shower instead of taking a bath – a short shower uses around 1/3 of the amount of water needed for a bath. However, if it's easier for you to take baths, you might want to consider not filling the tub all the way because the average full bath uses 80 litres of water.

Don’t leave the tap running

Turning off the tap while you're brushing your teeth or shaving saves water. You could also fill up a bowl and use this to do the dishes and wash food, rather than rinsing every plate and cup under running water. When looking after your garden, use a watering can instead of a hosepipe when looking after your garden. 

Fit a device in your toilet cistern 

You can get devices that minimise the water used in flushing your toilet. These can save up to 3 litres of water with every flush. Ask your water company if it supplies them free of charge.

Use your washing machine and dishwasher on full-load programmes

It might come as a surprise, but a full-load programme uses less water than 2 half-load programmes. 

Want to know more?

The CCW have brought together tips to help you cut down on what you pay for your water and sewerage.  

Am I eligible for a discount on my water bills?

Water companies offer a variety of discount schemes for certain customers.

Can I get a discount on my water bill if I'm on a low income?

Most water companies have a social tariff scheme for customers on low incomes or for those who are receiving certain benefits.

Can I get help with my water bill if I receive benefits?

If you have a water meter and you claim certain benefits (such as Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit), you may be eligible for the WaterSure scheme. 

If you're on the WaterSure scheme, your bill is capped at a lower amount, regardless of how much water you use.

The CCW has more information about the support that's available to help you pay your water bills – whether you'd like to access a debt support scheme or you'd like to switch to a fixed single occupier tariff because you live alone.

How could the Priority Services Register help me?

If you're on the Priority Services Register, then you're entitled to free services and support, including water deliveries in an emergency, large print bills and advance telephone notice of an interruption to your water supply.

This is provided by utility suppliers to help more vulnerable customers, for example if you're over State Pension age or living with a disability.

Contact your water supplier to get added to their register.

Should I get a water meter?

Water meters are devices that measure the exact amount of water you use in your home. Water suppliers use this measurement to calculate water bills so you're only charged for the amount of water you actually use.

A water meter could save you money if:

  • you live alone
  • you live in a home with a high rateable value
  • you use very little water.

You can ask your water company to fit a water meter for free. The water company can refuse if it thinks that installing one isn’t practical or is too expensive. If you’re a tenant, you may need permission from your landlord first.

Should I get a water meter?

Check whether you could save money on your water bills by switching to a water meter on the CCW website.

Can I switch to another water supplier?

Unlike gas and electricity companies, only your regional water company can supply your water. This means you can't switch suppliers.

How do I make a complaint about my water?

Your water is supplied by regional suppliers, which means you don't have a choice in who supplies your water and so you can't switch supplier if you're unhappy with the service provided by your water company. 

However, if you are unhappy, you can make a complaint. You should first approach your regional water company and follow their complaints process. Explain the problem you're having and try to resolve things informally.

If you're not happy with the result, you can then make a formal complaint – in writing, by phone or some other contact method. Be clear that you're making a complaint. They have 10 working days to reply to you. Then, if you're still unhappy with their decision, they then have another 10 working days to resolve your complaint. 

If this doesn't work, you can escalate your complaint to the CCW. They offer independent advice and help to cusomters who haven't been able to resolve a complaint with their water company. 

Want more information?

Water advice factsheet (PDF, 299 KB)

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Last updated: Apr 08 2024

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