How to reduce your water bills

The average UK household’s annual water bill for the tax year 2021/22 is forecast to be £408, so it’s worth exploring ways you might be able to keep costs down.

Here, we look at some of the best ways you can reduce your water usage and save money on your bills.

1. Consider changing the way you pay for water

There are two ways you can pay water bills; either you pay a set price per year based on your property’s ‘rateable value’, or you have a water meter. With billing by rateable value, the amount you pay varies depending on the size and condition of your home and the availability of local services, and has nothing to do with the amount of water you use. If you have a water meter, you only pay for the amount of water you’ve used, plus your sewerage costs. If you’re unsure how you currently pay, you’ll be able to find out by looking at one of your bills. You can find average annual costs in the different regions across England and Wales on the DiscoverWater website.

Should I switch to a water meter?

Switching to a water meter is free and can save some people a lot of money. But before you switch to a water meter, you’ll need to find out what difference it will make to your annual bills. The amount you could save will depend on your water usage and the rateable value of your home. However, a general guideline is that if you have more bedrooms than people in your home, it’s likely you’ll save some money by installing a water meter. To find out whether you could save by switching, you can use this free water meter  calculator. All you need to do is answer a few questions about your water usage and it’ll give you an estimate of how much you might be able to save with a water meter.

If you’d like more information or want to apply for a water meter, you should contact your water company. Sometimes you can apply for a water meter online through your water company’s website, or alternatively, you could give them a call to request one. If your water supplier is unable to provide you with a water meter, then they’re obligated to provide you with an alternative in its place. This is known as an Assessed Charge, and is usually based either on the number of bedrooms in your property, the kind of property you live in, or the average metered bill in the water company’s area.

Remember, in Scotland it isn’t free to install a water meter so you should only really consider it if you live in a very large home. In Northern Ireland there are no charges for domestic water usage so there is no need for a water meter.

2. Reduce your water usage

There are several ways you might be able to reduce the amount of water you use, which will help keep your bills down if you’re on a water meter.

Use water-saving gadgets

There are various gadgets available which can help you cut down on unnecessary water consumption and save on your water bill. From water efficient shower heads to kitchen tap gadgets, you can have a look at the SaveWaterSaveMoney website to see what water saving devices you could get for free. All you need to do is enter your postcode and it’ll provide a list of gadgets available to order free of charge in your area.

There are a number of other devices available to buy that could have a significant impact on your water bill. For example, according to the Energy Saving Trust, investing in a four-minute shower timer could save around 30 litres of water a day; a kitchen tap aerator up to 40 litres a day; and a cistern displacement device around two litres every time you flush the toilet.

Alter your lifestyle habits

It can be easy to waste water without even thinking about it. Altering a few simple lifestyle habits can make a huge difference to your water bill.

Below are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Have a quick shower rather than a bath
  • Turn off taps when brushing teeth or shaving
  • Use a washing up bowl rather than leaving the tap running when you’re washing up
  • Use a water butt in the garden to store rainwater which you can use to water plants.

If you’re struggling to pay your water bill...

If you’re having trouble paying your water bills you should first talk to your supplier. It’s possible that they might be able to offer a more affordable repayment scheme, or a temporary break from payments. Find out more in our article Get help with your bills.

Alternatively, if you’re struggling with your bills then you might like to see if you’re eligible for the WaterSure scheme. If you’re on benefits, or if you need to use a lot of water due to a medical condition or the number of school-age children living in your property, you may be eligible for help to pay your bills.

To qualify you must have a water meter, or be in the process of having one installed. When applying for the scheme, you’ll also need to provide evidence of your eligibility, for example a copy of an awards notice for any benefits you receive, or medical evidence of a condition and an explanation of why it causes you to use more water.

Getting help through the WaterSure scheme means your bill will be capped and you won’t have to pay more than the average meter bill in your area.

If you’d like to read more about the WaterSure scheme or are interested in applying, then you can find more information on the Citizens Advice website.

It’s also worth exploring other ways you might be able to reduce your outgoings, as this could make it easier to cover your water bills. Find out more in our article How to save money – 17 ways to cut costs.

We hope you found these tips and tricks useful. Do you have any other ideas you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you. You can join the discussion on the Rest Less community forum, or simply leave a comment below.  

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.

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