Cut your water bills

Big meter savings, freebies & more

Water is the forgotten utility – many think they can't save, but we've seen successes from those who have slashed £100s off their bills by fitting water meters and cutting down on how much they use. Plus there's help for those struggling... we round up all the ways to cut costs in this guide.

Water bills – the forgotten utility, but you can still save  

People assume that because you can't switch water company, you can't save. Yet huge savings are still possible and it's worth seeing if you can save, as water bills are often subject to annual price rises. Read our eight need-to-knows to get you started...

  1. In England and Wales? Some could slash water bills by switching to a meter

    As you can’t switch between firms, the most important decision is how you're billed. In England and Wales, there are two ways:

    • Your bills are estimated, so you pay a fixed amount depending on your home's size. Your bill will be based on your home's 'rateable value'.

    • You have a water meter, so you only pay for what you use. Since 1990, all new homes have been fitted with water meters and you can get one for free on request.

    In Scotland or Northern Ireland? Water bills are based on council tax bands and included in a 'combined service charge' along with other services if you're in Scotland, and there are no domestic water charges in Northern Ireland.

    Should you get a water meter?

    If you're in England or Wales, to see if a water meter is right for you, first of all you need to work out if a meter is financially worthwhile. Here's Martin's rule of thumb:

    If there are more bedrooms in your home than people, or the same number, check out getting a meter.

    In Scotland, it's not free to have a water meter installed (it's actually quite pricey), so unless you live alone in a manor-type property, you should stick to estimated payments. There are no domestic water charges in Northern Ireland, so no need for a meter.

    How much can you save?

    It varies depending on your household's usage, but also your water company. Remember, you can always try it to see if it saves you money. Most have up to two years to change back free of charge – so if it doesn't work out, ditch it.

    CCW - the voice for water consumers.

    Free water meter calculator

    The Consumer Council for Water has a free water meter calculator that tells you if you can save with a meter.

    It asks questions about your water use – for example, how many people live in your home, the number of showers taken a week, your dishwasher use and what you're paying at the moment – then tells you your estimated costs if you have a meter.

    If it's less than what you're paying now, you could be quids in.

    Alternatively, ask the water company

    For a more accurate, albeit time-consuming comparison, call your water company and ask for its calculator, as this'll be the best indicator of whether you'll save.

    And here's a MoneySaving success to wet your appetite...

    Thanks to you I took the step to have a water meter installed and my bill has gone from £65 a month to £17 [saving £576/year]. Thank you.
    - Bronwyn

    • How to get a water meter

      To get a water meter installed, you can head over to your provider's website and see if you can apply – you'll usually need to fill in an application form – or give it a call and ask.

      It's free to get one installed and water meters can be fitted inside and outside your home.

      Once a meter's installed, the supplier should give you an information pack detailing your new charges and update your online account.

    • How are my bills estimated if I don't have a water meter?

      Without a water meter, your bill will be based on your home's 'rateable value'. The amount of water used is irrelevant. There are no plans to change the rateable value system and you can't get your home's value reassessed. 

      Before 1990, councils assessed homes to produce rateable values, based on what rent homes could raise in the private market and the property's size. All homes were last assessed in 1973. Between then and 1990, only new homes were assessed. Since 1990, all new homes have been fitted with water meters.

    • If you're weighing up whether to get a meter, there are a few more facts to be aware of...

      • If savings are minimal, stick with certainty. Non-metered water bills give you surety of knowing exactly what you'll pay, regardless of usage.
      • You may have up to two years to try it out. Switch to a water meter and, if you change your mind, you may be able to switch back within 12 months, though many companies offer up to 24 months (others don't give you a choice). However, if you move into a home that already has a meter, you can't switch back. Check with your supplier to find out your options.
      • Having a water meter shouldn't affect your home's value. Some say meters lower a property's sale price. There's a slim chance it'll put high-water-use buyers off, but it's rare. So if you're not planning to move soon, ignore it and bag the savings. 
      • Higher water usage may force you on to a meter. If you use large amounts of water for non-necessities such as swimming pools or sprinklers, or if you live in a water-stressed area, a meter will be fitted automatically. Some water companies – mainly those in south east England – are rolling out metering programmes, meaning households in some areas will need to have a meter fitted and won't have the option to switch back to an unmetered supply.

    You can switch back to an unmetered bill within two years

    With most providers, you've two years to assess whether having metered water is worth it and, if you decide it isn't right for you, you can ask your water company to switch you back to an unmetered bill.

    • Policy on switching back from metered to unmetered billing by water company:

      Switching back from metered to unmetered billing

      Water company Can you switch back to unmetered billing after getting a water meter installed?
      Affinity No. You can't switch back
      Anglian Yes. It's free within two years of installation
      Bournemouth Yes. It's free within two years of installation
      Bristol Yes. It's free within two years of installation
      Cambridge Yes. It's free within two years of installation
      Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water Yes. It's free within two years of installation
      Essex and Suffolk Yes. It's free within two years of installation
      Hafren Dyfrdwy Yes. It's free within two years of installation

      Yes. It's free within two years of installation

      Portsmouth Yes. It's free within two years of installation
      SES No. You can't switch back

      Severn Trent

      Yes. It's free within two years of installation

      South East No. You can't switch back
      Southern No. You can't switch back
      South Staffs Yes. It's free within two years of installation

      South West

      Yes. It's free within two years of installation


      It depends. If you get one voluntarily, it's free within 12 months of installation.


      However, if you live in an area under Thames Water's compulsory meter programme, for example Swindon, you can't switch back. Check with Thames Water if this may affect your area.

      United Utilities

      Yes. It's free within two years of installation


      Yes. It's free within two years of installation


      Yes. It's free within two years of installation

      Table correct as of August 2023

  2. Refused a meter? Get an assessed bill

    Water companies must fit meters for free on request (not in Scotland or Northern Ireland) unless it's justifiably impractical, such as flats with shared pipes. You can appeal against the decision if a water company says it won't fit a meter. Go to the regulator Ofwat.

    If the water company actually can't fit a meter and your water usage is limited, ask for an 'assessed charge bill'. This is worked out on details such as how many people live in your home, but varies from company to company.

    Some companies don't base assessed charges on the number of people living in the house, but instead offer a single occupancy rate. The most common assessed charges are based on:

    • The number of bedrooms in your property.
    • The type of property you live in.
    • The number of people who live in the property.
    • A fixed charge based on the average metered bill in your company's area.

    Jake emailed us after Thames Water told him they couldn't fit a water meter at his home:

    They said they'd put me on an assessed household charge and my bill would go from £567 to £370 and I'd remain unmetered. Almost a £200 saving!"
    - Jake

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  3. Check if you qualify for a social tariff

    If you're on a low income (up to about £21,000 a year), you may be able to access a social tariff. All water companies offer them, and they can slash as much as 90% off your bill by lowering or even capping what you pay, whether you have a water meter or not – though some also require you to be on certain benefits. About 5.7 million households are eligible, but have yet to claim, missing out on an estimated average of £160 a year.

    Apply by contacting your water company. It will assess your circumstances by asking about your income and situation, and it'll make sure you get the support you're entitled to. One MoneySaver, Eunice, contacted her water company, Anglian Water, and emailed us her success:

    I have been switched from a WaterSure tariff to the Extra Lite [social] tariff which has taken my bill down to £9 a month instead of £38 a month, and I have a rebate of £190.94 as they backdated it. Thank you so much for highlighting this.
    - Eunice

    We've a full list of what's available from each company in the table below:

    Social water tariffs eligibility by provider

    Water company and scheme Key eligibility criteria What can you get?

    Affinity Water

    - Lift

    You have a household income of £17,005 a year or less, excluding benefits


    You receive one of the listed benefits.

    Annual bill capped at £115.10 (£76.70 if you get Council Tax Reduction/Support)
    Anglian Water 
    - Lite
    You need to have your finances assessed. Up to 50% off annual bill
    Bournemouth Water

    You need to be on a meter or assessed charges


    You or someone in your home receives one of means-tested benefit


    Your 'equivalised' weekly income, after housing costs, must be less than £295 (1)


    Your water bill should represent more than 5% of your equivalised income after housing costs.

    Between 15% and 85% off annual bill

    Bristol Water

    - Assist

    You need to be on a low income and have your finances assessed.


    If all adults in your household receive Pension Credit, you may qualify for a discount of about 20% off your bill.

    Up to 88% off annual bill



    Cambridge Water 
    - Assure

    You receive Pension Credit 'guarantee element'


    You have a household income of £19,050 a year or less, excluding certain benefits (2).

    60% bill reduction in first year, 40% reduction in subsequent years (3)



    Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
    - Helpu

    You receive an income-related benefit and have a household income (excluding certain benefits) of less than:

    - £9,700 a year for a household of one

    - £14,600 a year for a household of two

    - £16,010 a year for a household of three or more 

    Annual bill capped at £266.47
    Essex and Suffolk
    - SupportPlus

    You have a household income of £17,005 a year (£21,749 a year in London) or less, and your annual water bill is more than 3% of your net household income (after housing costs, rent or mortgage payments)


    Someone in your household receives Pension Credit, and your annual water bill is 3% or more of your net household income (after housing costs, rent or mortgage payments).

    Up to 50% off annual bill
    Hafren Dyfrdwy
    - Here2Help
    You have a household income of £20,048 a year or less. Up to 90% off annual bill
    - SupportPlus

    You have a household income of £17,005 a year or less and your annual water bill is more than 3% of your net household income (after housing costs, rent or mortgage payments)


    Someone in your household receives Pension Credit, and your annual water bill is 3% or more of your net household income (after housing costs, rent or mortgage payments).

    Up to 50% off annual bill
    - Helping Hand tariff

    You have a household income of £17,005 a year or less, excluding certain benefits.

    Annual bill capped at £82.73
    - Water Support
    You have a household income of £17,005 a year (or £21,749 a year if you live in a London borough), or less. Up to 50% off annual bill

    Severn Trent 
    - Big Difference

    You have a household income of £20,048 a year or less. Those with child dependants may be eligible for an additional income allowance. Up to 90% off annual bill
    South East Water 
    - The Social Tariff

    You have a household income of £18,005 a year or less, excluding certain benefits.

    Annual bill capped at £174.66 or £140.36, depending on where you live
    Southern Water 
    - Essentials tariff

    You have a household income of less than £21,000 (excluding certain benefits) and you have savings of less than £16,000


    Someone in your household receives Pension Credit.

    Between 45% and 90% discount on annual bill


    South Staffs
    - Assure

    You receive the Pension Credit 'guarantee element'


    You have a household income of less than £19,050 a year, excluding certain benefits (2).

    60% bill reduction in first year, 40% reduction in subsequent years (3)



    South West
    - WaterCare

    You'll need to be on a meter or on assessed charges


    You or someone in your home receives one means-tested benefit


    Your 'equivalised' weekly income, after housing costs, must be less than £295


    Your bill should represent more than 5% of your equivalised income after housing costs.

    Between 15% and 85% off annual bill

    Thames Water
    - WaterHelp

    You have a household income of less than £17,005 a year (£21,749 a year in London), excluding disability benefits.


    Up to 50% off annual bill

    United Utilities
    - Help to Pay

    - Back on Track

    You must receive at least one income-related benefit


    Be in arrears with previous years' water charges or have a household income of less than £21,000 a year (if applying due to a recent life event)


    You receive Pension Credit.

    Annual bill capped between £96 and £516. (4)


    For those receiving Pension Credit, annual bill capped at £270 or £384.

    Wessex Water

    - Assist

    Based on ability to pay. You don't need to receive benefits to apply.

    Up to 80% off annual bill

    Yorkshire Water

    - WaterSupport

    You're on a low income with an annual bill of more than £350.


    Annual bill capped at £350

    Table correct as of August 2023. (1) 'Equivalised income' is adjusted to reflect the size of a household. For example, an income of £200 is worth more to a single person than it would be to a family with three children. (2) Families with children have an additional allowance of £1,500 per child added to the household income threshold. (3) If claimants have no income (while waiting for a Universal Credit application to be processed) then charges will be fully waived for eight weeks. The 60% reduction will then apply for the remainder of the first year. (4) United Utilities offer customers a payment break until their first Universal Credit payment is received. Once in receipt of UC customers maybe eligible for a social tariff lowering their bill and are offered the option to extend their repayment period.

  4. On benefits and live in a metered household? Some could get capped bills through the WaterSure scheme

    If you have a water meter, it may also be possible to get a reduced or capped bill through the national WaterSure scheme, available through all water companies.

    To qualify, you (or someone living with you) must be receiving at least one eligible benefit AND have either three or more children under the age of 19 in full-time education, or have a medical condition that means you use extra water.

    The eligible benefits are:

    • Child Tax Credit (except families receiving the family element only)
    • Housing Benefit
    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Pension Credit
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit

    If you're accepted, your bills will be capped, so regardless of how much water you use, you won't pay more than your supplier's average household cost. Typical savings can be about £250 a year. To sign up, contact your supplier for an application form.

    • Eligible medical conditions for the WaterSure scheme

      Eligible medical conditions include:

      • Abdominal stomas
      • Crohn's disease
      • Desquamation (flaky skin disease)
      • Incontinence
      • Renal failure requiring dialysis at home – although you won't qualify for WaterSure if you're already getting a contribution to your water costs from the NHS
      • Weeping skin disease (eczema, psoriasis or varicose ulceration)
      • Ulcerative colitis
      • Any other medical conditions that require extra water, which could include Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer or diabetes

      You'll usually need to provide evidence of your medical condition, which could be a recent prescription or doctor's certificate or letter (which you may have to pay for, but some water companies will reimburse this to you).

  5. Not eligible for a social tariff or WaterSure? Get help from your supplier if you're struggling to pay

    If you don't qualify for a social tariff or the WaterSure scheme and you're struggling to pay, call your water company and ask for help. All providers offer a range of other measures to help those who have fallen into debt. 

    Ask your water company for a repayment plan

    All water companies should offer you a repayment or 'restart' plan, whether you're on a meter or not. These repayment plans differ between companies, but a common example is that the firm will match each payment you make. So for every £1 you pay, the water company will also pay £1 towards your bill.

    Some companies will even wipe some of your debt if you continue to make repayments under your plan or will increase the amount that's matched. For example, after six months for every £1 you pay towards your debt, the company will pay £2 towards your bill, which helps you pay off your debt quicker.

    The water company will consider your situation and carry out a financial assessment to see which option will suit you best.

    If you're really struggling, you may be able to get a charity grant

    Many water companies in England and Wales offer schemes and/or have charity funds to help customers with genuine reasons for being in debt or struggling to pay their water bills. This can mean a one-off payment to wipe all or part of your debt.

    These include:

    Any customer of these firms can apply, but each supplier has its own application process and applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis – so only those who really need help will get it. If successful, you'll get help with clearing your water debt (for example, Dwr Cymru will pay off 50% of your debt if you've made repayments for six months). And some can even help with other debts you might have, such as if you've fallen behind on your energy or council tax bill.

    If you need help filling in the application form, you can contact Citizens Advice which can help you.

  6. Over 900,000 free water-saving gadgets are up for grabs

    Households across much of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can bag a range of free insulation and water-saving gadgets, and there are usually 100,000s available. While the freebies are funded by the water companies, it's water efficiency company Save Water Save Money that manages the distribution of 'em.

    You can get one item each per household, but what's available varies by water company, where you live and what's available at the time.

    The gadgets include shower heads (which help regulate water usage, normally £20), tap inserts (to regulate water flow, normally £5), shower timers (usually £2.50, to help you cut down), garden hose nozzles (to regulate flow, normally £2.50), 100 and 200 litre water butts (to collect rainwater for flushing toilets and watering gardens, typically £20+) and 'Buffaloo' cistern bags (which you place into your toilet cistern so each flush uses less water, normally £2).

    How to check what's available and apply depends on which water company you're with...

    • If you're with Bristol Water or South East Water you can go straight to the freebies via this Save Water Save Money link. Simply enter your postcode in the 'free water-saving devices' box to see what's available, then enter your details to get 'em sent for free within 28 days.

    • If you're with Bournemouth Water, Cambridge Water, Dwr Cymru, Guernsey Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy, Portsmouth WaterSES WaterSevern TrentSouth Staffs Water, South West Water, Wessex Water, NI Water, Jersey Water, Scottish WaterUnited Utilities, or Yorkshire Water you'll need to use Save Water Save Money's savings calculator to access the freebies.

    • If you're with Affinity WaterAnglianEssex & SuffolkSouthern Water or Northumbrian, they're not part of Save Water Save Money's promotion, but you can sometimes get the freebies if you go direct to their websites.

    • If you're with Thames Water, it no longer offers free water-saving gadgets, so you'd either need to buy your own, or rely on saving water without gadgets.  

    How much could I save?

    Savings vary by supplier and usage, but the Energy Saving Trust estimates that replacing an inefficient shower head with an efficient one could save a family of four £35 on their gas bill and about £30 on their water bill (if metered) each year.

    And with the new winter insulation freebies, not only could you cut down on leaks, but they will protect you from costly repair bills from burst pipes.

    What's more, reducing water consumption helps the environment. The Energy Saving Trust says it can cut energy use, reduce the impact on your local environment and limit carbon dioxide emissions by using less energy to pump, heat and treat the water.

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  7. Check if you're entitled to a light sewerage rebate

    While the water meter billing system's mostly straightforward, it's assumed "what goes in, must come out", and that any water used creates roughly an equivalent amount in sewerage.

    The general assumption is that 90% to 95% goes back. But this can be wrong in a few specific circumstances. If that's the case, you can get serious money back.

    • Do you have a soakaway?

      This is a large underground gravel pit that collects water from the roof or drive. They're more likely in a small town or village than an urban area. If unsure, check property deeds or see your local authority to check the planning application.

      Water companies should give rebates to those whose surface rainwater goes into a soakaway or straight into a river or canal, rather than a mains sewer. To apply for a rebate, just fill in your water company's form. Call or go online to request it.

      MoneySaver Steph did just that:

      Thanks for your tip to check if we are due a light sewerage rebate, as we have a soakaway. I contacted Anglian Water and got a six-year backdated refund of £220.
      - Steph 

    • Do you have a pond, large garden or swimming pool?

      If you're on a meter and use lots of water from an outside tap, you can contact your water company to ask for a reduction in your bill. If you can show you haven't poured the water down the drain, you shouldn't have to pay the sewerage charge. But the onus is on you to prove water hasn't gone back to the sewer.

      The usual scenario when this would apply is a large one-off amount of water, for example, filling a pond or pool. If it's more regular, ongoing use, it's possible to prove it by fitting a water meter to your outside tap, though that's expensive.

    • Do you have a cesspit or septic tank?

      If you're in an area with no connection to the mains sewerage, so have a cesspit or septic tank, you don't have to pay sewerage charges. This only applies to a few people, but you should query any charges paid for sewerage services if your property isn't connected to the main sewerage system.

    Refused a rebate? Take it to the Consumer Council for Water

    If your water company won't give you a rebate (usually backdated to the beginning of the current billing year), get in touch with your local Consumer Council for Water office. It should be able to help if you feel the company should reasonably have known you weren't connected, for example, if you live in a block of flats and other residents already receive an allowance.

  8. Get compensation for low pressure, missed appointments and supply issues

    The Government sets out a guaranteed standards scheme (GSS) that all water and wastewater companies must adhere to. Under the scheme, customers are entitled to compensation if certain things go wrong with your water supply. This may include low pressure, not restoring a water supply that's been cut off, or your supplier failing to attend a pre-arranged appointment. You should get at least £20 in each case. You can see the full list of issues covered and minimum compensation amounts on the Ofwat website.

    Water and wastewater companies should automatically pay at least £20 compensation if they fail to provide the guaranteed service

    If it doesn't, and you think it should have, you can claim within three months of the incident occurring.

    You'll need to contact your waste or surface water company in the first instance. For most households, the company that deals with their water supply is the same company that deals with their wastewater and sewerage. However, in some cases it may be two different companies – check your bill to find out. You can also check the map on Ofwat's website to find out your supplier.

    If your water company refuses to pay compensation, the Consumer Council for Water may be able to help. If they aren't successful, they may refer you to Ofwat for a formal resolution.

    All water companies must pay £10 a day compensation if you can't do essential household chores due to drought restrictions

    If you can't get water to drink, cook, wash, or flush the toilet, as a result of emergency restrictions put in place due to drought, you'll be entitled to £10 for each day (or part day) that your household water supply is interrupted or cut off. The maximum you could get is your water company’s average household bill for the previous year.

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  9. Change your habits

    For those on a water meter, saving water means saving money. But for those not on meters, it can slash energy bills and help the environment. Nowadays we use an average 150 litres of water a day per person – our grandparents only used around 20!

    30 top tips suggested by MoneySavers

    Below are some tips collected from MoneySavers (some are not for the faint-hearted). We'll start with our favourite. It's not for everyone, but some MoneySavers save it for when using the loo at night...

    If that's not quite your thing, here are our other top tips:

    • Savvy showering

      • Don't wallow, shoot into the shower. A quick shower uses far less than a long soak in the tub, so think twice before baths.

      • Turn off the tap when you shower. After initially wetting yourself, turn off the shower until you are ready to rinse clean. One MoneySaver reckons you can shower with almost no water at all.

      • The efficient way to wash your hair. If it's not a cold day, wash your hair and then soap up a sponge. Turn the water to a dribble while you soap up, then finish with a quick blast to get the soap off. This saves water, and ensures there's still enough hot water to last the day out.

      • Use your head – swap rinse-out hair conditioner for a leave-in version. Don't use hair conditioner in the shower that you have to rinse out, use a leave-in version.

      • Bundle into the bath. Get up close and personal with your other half and share your bath. Or put the kids in together to save water.

      • Don't bathe pets, keep Fido dry. Check with your vet, but it can be bad for their skin and they may not need it unless they require medicated baths or have rolled in something awful.

    • Don't flush your pennies down the toilet

      • Use rainwater for flushing the loo. One MoneySaver's tip: "I use rainwater for flushing the loo, after filtering through muslin. My tanks are 200 gallon metal, sealed, with a large tap. Charcoal in netting, the sort oranges come in, keeps water smelling sweeter. The bucket stands outside the conservatory door or in the bath, with a splash of half-strength bleach."

      • Get a dual-flush loo. Use the small flush for number ones, or the stronger flush for bigger jobs!

      • Use a Save-A-Flush. Many water companies offer free Save-A-Flush bags that go in your loo's cistern, so you don't use as much water. It's good for the environment and saves roughly a tenner a year.  If you can't be bothered to contact your water firm for one, fill up a one-litre (two-litre for bigger savings) fizzy-drink bottle with water and it should do the same job. There's a tool that shows you how to get water devices from your water firm at Save Water Save Money.
    • Tap into those water savings

      • Fix leaky taps. Check your meter's not increasing when you're not using water. If it is, get leaks sorted.

      • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Simple but effective!

      • Running your tap to temperature? Fill up empty bottles while you wait for it to heat up and use round the house to water plants or for the kettle.

      • Turn it off – don't run the tap. When cleaning, don't run the tap. Instead use a wash bowl to rinse cloths.

    • Can you avoid using the hosepipe?

      Here are some top tips to keep your garden watered or car clean without a hosepipe.

      • Clean the car smartly. When you really get to the point where you have to clean the car, use a bucket of hot soapy water and a watering can of clean water to rinse – no need to use a hose. Consider using waterless products too. According to Save Water Save Money, ditching the hose could save over 100 litres of water.

      • Love the shade – keep plants out of the sun. Moving pot plants and house plants out of the sun helps limit the amount of water they need.

      • Watering the plants? Don't forget your roots. Use the simple trick of an upside-down water bottle with holes in it to get water direct to the roots of your plants. This should help save waste. Plus you can reuse your old washing up water to water your plants - the detergent won’t do any harm but best not to use it on edible plants. And finally, choose the type of pot carefully – ceramic, metal or wood pots lose less water.

      • Fish-tank water is good for plants. Use dirty water from the fish tank on plants – it's rich in nitrogen and phosphorous.

      • Save rainwater – get a water butt. Sometimes you can pick these up for free. Use it to collect rainwater and you'll have a constant supply for the plants when you need it. Make sure you keep it covered so the water doesn't evaporate when it's needed most.

      • Recycle tea water. Empty the cold dregs from the tea on to house plants.

      • Use leftover tumble-dryer water. If you use a condensing tumble dryer and it's ventless, use the condensed water in your watering can or iron.

      • Share your bath... with your lawn. Run a hosepipe up to your bathroom and siphon bathwater out of the window to your plants.

      • Build a pond. It's great for wildlife and will provide hours of relaxation. Best of all it's the biggest reservoir you can create, even beating water butts for volume. Dip into it with your watering can as needed, returning snails and newts to the pond afterwards!

      • Collect water. Stand a washing-up bowl in the shower. Use the water for the garden and house plants.

      • Use a watering can instead of a hose. Use a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or hosepipe. Garden sprinklers and hosepipes left running can use 500 to 1,000 litres of water an hour.

      Want more tips to keep your garden growing? Ask our greenfingered MoneySavers.

    • Other water MoneySaving ideas

      • Shave and save. Use half a mug of water while shaving to get rid of hair by dipping the razor in the mug and churning it.

      • Save your washing up for one wash. Instead of washing up as you go, save it up and do it in one go to minimise the amount of water used. As one MoneySaver says, it's a great excuse to leave the washing up!

      • Load up the washing machine. Wait until you've a full load before using your washing machine or dishwasher. Some new washing machines use less than seven litres of water for each kilogram of clothes, while modern dishwashers can use as little as 10 to 15 litres of water a cycle.

      • Buy efficient white goods. If you're looking to replace your dishwasher or washing machine, get some tips from the Waterwise or Save Water Save Money websites.

      • Steam your veggies. Healthier and tastier than boiling them.

    Please suggest any other tips or tricks in the Cheap water bills thread.

Water bills change every year – in April, they rose by 7.5% on average

Every April, water companies assess and change the rates they charge customers. Whilst typically this is an increase, some have been known to reduce bills by a small amount in some years.

Water bills across England and Wales rose by an average of 7.5% in April 2023 – that's a rise of £31 a year on a typical bill. Anglian customers saw the biggest rise (£47/year), while Bournemouth Water customers will see an increase of just £3/year.

Rates in Scotland rose by an average of 5% on 1 April 2023. So those on the combined service charge in council tax band A, for example, now pay £335 a year, while those in tax band D pay £502 a year.

When prices change again next April, some water bills in England and Wales could rise by less than planned from April 2024, as 12 water companies have been hit with a collective £114 million penalty for missing targets on pollution, leaks and customer service. Read the full news story.

  • In England and Wales? See how your water bill changed with our full regional table

    Water bill changes in 2023 based on average use – England & Wales 

    Water and sewerage firms 2022/23 cost 2023/24 cost Change in cost % change
    Anglian £445 £492 +£47 11%
    Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water £485 £499 +£14 3%
    Hafren Dyfrdwy £331 £372 +£41 12%
    Northumbrian £362 £391 +£29 8%
    Severn Trent £391 £419 +£28 7%
    South West (1) £468 £476 +£8 2%
    Southern £396 £439 +£43 11%
    Thames £417 £456 +£39 9%
    United Utilities £417 £443 +£26 6%
    Wessex £462 £504 +£42 9%
    Yorkshire £416 £446 +£30 7%
    Water-only firms (you'll be billed for sewerage separately by one of the companies above)
    Affinity (central region) £175 £187 +£12 7%
    Affinity (east region) £207 £227 +£20 10%
    Affinity (southeast region) £235 £257 +£22 9%
    Bournemouth £137 £140 +£3 2%
    Bristol £201 £213 +£12 6%
    Cambridge £153 £161 +£8 5%
    Essex and Suffolk £245 £259 +£14 6%
    Portsmouth £109 £117 +£8 7%
    SES Water £190 £216 +£26 14%
    South East £218 £242 +£24 11%
    South Staffs £160 £173 +£13 8%
    INDUSTRY AVERAGE (WEIGHTED) £417 £448 +£31 7%

    Source: Water UK. The household bill is an average across all customers. Individual bills may differ from the average due to particular household characteristics, for example, if they've a water meter. Changes to bills will vary by company.


    (1) Since April 2013, South West Water customers have benefited from a Government contribution, which reduces the bill by £50/year. This £50 reduction is applied to the combined average bill in this table. Without the Government contribution, South West Water's combined average bill would be about £526.

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