How to save money on your water bills

There are many ways to save money on your water bill, including switching to a measurement bill and making small changes to your behavior. (Getty Images)

With many households struggling during the cost-of-living crisis, Britons are looking for better ways to manage their finances, including spending less money on their water bills.

Water has been called “the forgotten tool” by MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis due to the limited power of consumers to reduce costs.

It is not possible to switch between suppliers, which means that opportunities to save money are more difficult to access than for gas and electricity.

As a result, Lewis says many people do not realize the savings they can make by using less water.

Yahoo News UK explains how different water bills work and looks at how you can save money on water.

How do water bills work in England and Wales?

There are two different types of water bills in England and Wales – measured and unsaturated.

Customers who have an unpaid bill are charged based on the rental value of their property, in combination with a fixed amount set by the supplier that covers things such as invoicing and customer service costs.

The amount that a household is charged has nothing to do with the amount of water it uses.

Instead, it is based on how much the property was worth in 1990.

The system means that households that use a lot of water can pay below the odds.

Houses built after 1990 are instead charged a bill and are therefore charged depending on how much water they actually use.

This type of bill is most meaningful for people who live alone and do not use as much water as a multi-person household.

Normally the cost includes sewage, as well as water.

How do water bills work in other parts of the UK?

In Scotland, consumers are charged for water and sewage by local authorities, who collect these bills on behalf of Scottish Water together with municipal taxes.

The amount that households pay is based on their municipal tax range, with discounts and exemptions available to people in certain circumstances, such as those with lower incomes and people receiving certain benefits.

Scottish Water currently serves 2.6 million households and supplies 1.5 billion liters of water.

At the same time, there are no charges for domestic water in Northern Ireland, and both the DUP and Sinn Fein oppose any plans to introduce them.

How much is the average water bill?

According to industry researcher Discover Water, the average water bill for 2022/23 will be £ 419. This includes £ 200 for water and £ 219 for sewer.

Wastewater tends to cost more due to the complicated process of pumping purified wastewater back to rivers and seas.

For 2021/22, the average bill for water and sewage was £ 410.

Why can your water costs increase?

Water is often

Water is often the “forgotten benefit” because people do not realize how much they could save. (Getty Images)

Water billing costs change for many reasons.

For example, in 2022, several water companies said they were raising their prices to improve infrastructure and increase investment to combat climate change.

Read more: The diagram that shows how bad your sick pay really is

Ofwat says it is challenging suppliers to do more to help customers who are having a hard time.

David Black, acting CEO, said: “Many households are worried about their bills, and we expect water companies to play their part in supporting customers.

“Our research shows that only 15% of customers are aware of the financial aid available to them, and only 3% actually receive financial support from their water company.

“Giving a helping hand to those who need it must be a top priority for water companies.”

Will I save money by using a water meter?

Water meters make sense for some households.  (Getty Images)

Water meters make sense for some households. (Getty Images)

Switching to a measured bill will almost certainly help someone who lives on their own save money, according to MoneySavingExpert.com.

However, it all depends on how many people you live with.

Martin Lewis says that if you are fewer, it generally makes sense to use a meter. “The fewer people, the less used – and the lower the cost,” Lewis said.

Overall, the best way to find out how much you can save is to talk to your water company.

Some companies have an online calculator to help you see how much your bill can be reduced by one meter.

The Consumer Council, an independent representative of water consumers in England and Wales, also has a free calculator if you are unsure which company to use.

It is worth noting that it is free to install a water meter in England and Wales, but not in Scotland where it costs £ 300 to get one fitted.

Tips for saving on your water bill if you have a water meter

Making sure the faucet is not running when you brush your teeth is an easy way to save water.  (Getty Images)

Making sure the faucet does not run when you brush your teeth is an easy way to save water. (Getty Images)

If you already have a water meter, or are considering getting one, there are a number of free offers to help you save water, depending on which company you are with.

The Save Water Save Money website has free gadgets, such as shower nozzles worth £ 20 – which can save you £ 30 / year on heating bills only – or faucet inserts worth £ 5.

In addition, there are nine tips that Ofwat recommends for saving water:

Use a bowl in the sink when washing fruits and vegetables, instead of running them under the tap.

When you are done, it can be used to water your plants.

2. Switch off the tap when brushing your teeth.

Leaving a faucet running can use up to nine liters of water per minute.

Fill a jug of water and store it in the fridge when you want a cool drink.

That means you will not waste water by letting the tap run cold before filling their glass

4. Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or dishwasher.

Washing machines use about 19 liters of water per charge, which, for an average household running between 5 – 6 charges per week, corresponds to 5,605 liters of water per year.

5. Take a shower instead of a bath whenever possible.

A five-minute shower uses about 40 liters of water – about half the amount used in a bath.

Use a water-saving device in your toilet bowl.

You can save between one and three liters each time you flush the toilet, depending on the size of your cistern.

7. Water your plants with a watering can instead of a sprinkler or hose.

Garden sprinklers and hoses that are running can use between 500 and 1,000 liters of water per hour.

8. Check your property regularly for leaks on your interior plumbing.

Leaks from pipes, plumbing fixtures and fittings are a major source of water waste.

9. Install a water shock to collect rainwater from your roof.

Water pumps usually store about 200 liters of water. In addition to being better at watering your plants, the use of rainwater in the garden reduces the amount of treated water you use.

What other support is available?

Some water companies offer difficulties, such as grants and flexible payments, to help people pay their bills.

Talking to your current provider will help you find out what systems are available and if you are eligible to apply for one.

Alternatively, people with benefits who use a lot of water can apply for WaterSure, a national system to help families save money. Welsh Water customers must apply for the system through WaterSure Wales.

Since water bills are collected together with municipal tax in Scotland, people who are struggling to pay their bills should check if they are entitled to a municipal tax reduction.

Watch: Martin Lewis urges people to compare energy prices

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