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 could rise by £100 on average over the next five years

Every April, water companies change the rates they charge customers. While typically rates go up, occasionally some reduce bills by a small amount.

Water regulator Ofwat has announced new proposals that'll allow water firms to increase bills by an average of about £100 across England and Wales over the next five years, starting from April 2025. The aim is to "reduce pollution, improve customer service, river and bathing water quality" as well as tackle climate change.

So from April 2025, most bills will rise, yet there's a huge variance based on where you live. Below is our firm-by-firm breakdown of what your water bill could be by 2030 (excluding inflation):

Proposed water bill changes from 2025 based on average use – England & Wales 

Water and wastewater companies 2024/25  actual cost 2029/30 proposed cost Change in cost % change
Anglian Water £491 £557 +£66 13%
Dŵr Cymru £466 £603 +£137 29%
Hafren Dyfrdwy £396 £524 +£128 32%
Northumbrian Water £415 £460 +£45 11%
Severn Trent Water £403 £496 +£93 23%
Southern Water £420 £603 +£183 44%
South West Water (1) £497 £561 +£64 13%
Thames Water £436 £535 +£99 23%
United Utilities £442 £536 +£94 21%
Wessex Water £508 £497 -£12 -2%
Yorkshire Water £430 £537 +£107 25%
INDUSTRY AVERAGE £441 £535 +£94 21%
Water-only firms (you'll be billed for sewerage separately by one of the companies above)
Affinity Water £192 £203 +£11 6%
Portsmouth Water £114 £135 +£21 18%
South East Water £230 £248 +£18 8%
South Staffs Water £161 £183 +£22 14%
SES Water £221 £187 -£34 -15%
Water-only companies – average £191 £204 +£12 6%

Source: Ofwat. The household bill is an average across all customers. Individual bills may differ due to household characteristics, for example, if they've a water meter. Changes to bills will vary by company. Figures do not include inflation.

(1) Since April 2013, South West Water customers have benefited from a government contribution, which reduces their 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 £536.

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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. Read our nine need-to-knows to get you started...

Prefer to watch rather than read? Watch Martin Lewis explain how you can save up to £1,000 a year on your water bills, on ITV's The Martin Lewis Money Show Live:

Martin explains how you can save up to £1,000 a year on your water bills.
Embedded YouTube Video

The clip above is from The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, which aired on Tuesday 16 January 2024, used with permission from ITV Studios. All rights reserved. You can also watch the full episode on ITVX.

  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...

    My last water bill had risen to £1,600 a year – I took your advice, had a meter installed and now pay just over £250 annually, saving over £1,000 a year without changing the way I use water. Why didn't I get one before? Especially as I am now on my own.
    - Marie

    • 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 should be free to get one installed and water meters can be fitted inside and outside your home. If you can't get a water meter fitted due to lack of space or access, your water company should offer you an assessed charges bill. If you really want a water meter but it's too expensive or impractical for the water company to install one, it may ask you to pay for it, which could be hundreds of pounds.

      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.

    • Check your bills are using actual meter readings

      If you do get a water meter fitted, check your bills to make sure your water company is using actual readings to calculate your bills. Some water meters can be read remotely, but others can only be accessed by an engineer, so it's possible that they just use estimates until they can take an actual meter reading. 

      Most water companies aim to take a reading every six months. According to Ofwat, your water meter should be read at least once a year, but if it can only be accessed by your water company, a reading must be taken at least once every two years.

      One MoneySaver told us she had estimated bills for over two years, meaning she was due a sizeable refund when an actual reading was finally taken. So it's definitely worth checking.

    • 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.
      • 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 many providers, you've two years to assess whether having a water meter 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.

    • Switching back from metered to unmetered billing: policies firm-by-firm

      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

      Yes. It's free within two years of installation


      However, if you live in an area under Cambridge Water's compulsory meter programme, you can't switch back. Check with Cambridge Water if this affects you.

      Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water Yes. It's free within two years of installation
      Essex and Suffolk No. You can't switch back
      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 one year 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 affects you.

      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 June 2024.

  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, by going 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 £18,725 a year or less, excluding benefits


    You receive one of the listed benefits

    Annual bill capped at £119.50 (£79.70 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 these means-tested benefits


    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 £20,050 a year or less, excluding certain benefits (2)

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



    Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
    - Helpu

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

    - £11,600 a year for a one-person household

    - £17,400 a year for a two-person household

    - £18,800 a year for a household of three or more 

    Annual bill capped at £290.03 (£116.52 for water, £173.51 for sewerage)
    Essex and Suffolk
    - SupportPlus

    You have a household income of £23,933 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
    Hafren Dyfrdwy
    - Here2Help
    The scheme can offer a reduction of water bills to any customer depending on the size of their household and household income Up to 90% off annual bill
    - SupportPlus

    You have a household income of £23,933 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 are on certain benefits


    You have an income of £21,000 a year or less, excluding certain benefits

    Annual bill capped at £91.12
    - Water Support
    You have a household income of £18,725 a year (or £23,933 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 qualify for an additional income allowance Up to 70% off annual bill
    South East Water 
    - The Social Tariff

    You have a household income of £18,725 a year or less, excluding certain benefits

    Annual bill capped at £182.82 or £146.94, 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 (1)


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

    Between 15% and 85% off annual bill

    Thames Water
    - WaterHelp

    If your water bill is more than 5% of your net income, you may be eligible for WaterHelp (depending on how many people live at your property)

    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

    Depending on your individual circumstances your water bill will be capped at a lower amount for the year (4)

    For those receiving Pension Credit, annual bill capped at £282 or £402

    Wessex Water

    - Assist




    - Discount for low-income pensioners

    Based on ability to pay. You don't need to receive benefits to apply but you need to have sought independent financial advice before applying


    All adults in the household receive Pension Credit


    State pension is the only household income

    Up to 90% off annual bill


    Annual bill reduced by around £55 every year. You don't need to reapply each year or if you move home

    Yorkshire Water

    - WaterSupport

    You're on a low income with an annual bill of more than £364


    Annual bill capped at £364

    Table correct as of July 2024. (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 offers customers a payment break until they receive their first Universal Credit (UC) payment. Once receiving UC, customers may qualify 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, Dŵr 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. Grab free water-saving gadgets

    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, including:

    • 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)
    • Water butts (to collect rainwater for watering gardens, typically £20+)
    • 'Buffaloo' cistern bags (so each toilet flush uses less water, normally £2)

    You can get one of each item per household, but what's available varies by water company, where you live and stock levels. While the freebies are funded by the water companies, it's water efficiency company Save Water Save Money that manages the distribution. 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. Enter your postcode in the 'free water-saving devices' box to see what's available, then give your details to get 'em sent for free within 28 days.

    • If you're with Bournemouth Water, Cambridge Water, Dŵr 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 this promo, but you can sometimes get the freebies if you go direct to their websites.

    • Thames Water no longer offers free water-saving gadgets, so if you're a customer, you'd need to buy your own or rely on saving water in other ways.

    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 £30 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

    Under the guaranteed standards scheme (GSS), which all water and wastewater companies must adhere to, you're entitled to compensation if certain things go wrong with your water supply.

    This includes low pressure, not restoring a water supply that's been cut off, or if your supplier fails to attend an 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 website of the water regulator, Ofwat.

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

    If you're not offered automatic compensation when an issue occurs, and you think you should have been, you can claim within three months of the incident happening.

    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 Ofwat's map to find your supplier.

    If your water company refuses to pay compensation, the Consumer Council for Water may be able to help. If it isn't successful, it 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.

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