You are supplied and charged for your water and sewerage services by your Regional Water Supplier. Because water is so precious, it is everyone’s responsibility to use it wisely. Remember, if you are on a water meter, saving water also means saving money.

WATER & SEWERAGE SUPPLIERS

Water suppliers are the companies that provide water only and water and sewerage for general domestic use to the UK’s homes.

You are supplied and charged for your water by your Regional Water Supplier.

There are currently 33 water and sewerage suppliers covering England, Scotland and Wales each responsible for all customers in an agreed geographical region.

Your water supplier will supply you with a continuous supply of water of a quality safe to drink, at an adequate pressure for your daily use.

Water supplies are tested regularly by inspectors to ensure the water is safe to drink.

Your water supplier is responsible for your sewerage services unless they are a water only supplier in which case your sewerage services will be supplied by an alternative supplier, e.g. South East Water might be responsible for your water supplies but Thames Water are responsible for your sewerage services.

To find out who supplies your water click on the map at this link.

WATER REGULATION

Ofwat (The Water Services Regulation Authority) is the economic regulator of the water and sewerage sectors in England and Wales.

Their job is to make sure that your water company provides you with a good quality service at a fair price.

Domestic water customers do not have a choice over who supplies their water and sewerage services and so the 25 monopoly water and sewerage companies are regulated under a system of comparative competition.

Ofwat uses its performance comparison to decide price limits which determine whether, or by how much, companies can raise their prices to customers.

HOW YOU ARE CHARGED

Your water company will normally charge you in one of three ways:

  • metered charges, which are based on the metered amount of water you use
  • assessed charges, which are based an approximation of how much water you might use if you were on a meter

If you receive your water service and your sewerage service from different suppliers your water company may charge you for your sewerage services on behalf of the sewerage company. Alternatively you may receive two bills, one from each company.

If your property is empty you may still have to pay charges for vacant properties.

For details of your charges go to the web-site for your supplier, available here.

PAYING YOUR BILL

Whoever lives in the property is normally responsible for paying water charges. If more than one person shares a property, everyone is responsible, even if the bill is only in one name.

If you're a tenant, you are responsible for paying water charges, unless your landlord has made another agreement with the water company.

If you rent a property from the local authority, they may collect the bills on behalf of the water company and your rent will include your water charges.

For a complete guide to paying your bill, payment options, what to do if you haven't received a bill and what will happen if you don't pay your bill follow this link.

Advice on what to if you have a problem with your bill or a problem paying your bill is available from the following sites:

SWITCHING TO A WATER METER

If you don’t use much water you may pay less if you have a water meter installed .

If your property has a high rateable value it may also be worth changing to a meter.

Generally if there are less people in the property than there are bedrooms you will probably save money by installing a meter.

You have the right to have a meter installed free of charge, unless it's not practical or is unreasonably expensive to do this.

Tenants also have the right to ask for a meter if their tenancy agreement is for six months or longer.

To change to a water meter, you should contact your water company either by phone, or  by applying on their website.

If you can’t have a water meter installed for any reason, your water company may be able to put you on a cheaper tariff to save money.

If you ask for a meter, your water company should install it within three months.  In areas where free meters are being offered for the first time, this period may be six months.

For a online water calculator to help you decide whether a meter will benefit you follow this link.

For a full explanation of water metering, how it works and how to have one installed follow this link.

CONSERVING WATER

Water is a precious resource and is something we cannot live without.

It may seem to rain a lot but some parts of the country, such as the densely-populated south-east, are much drier so there is less water for consumers to use.

More importantly our water usage is much higher than previous generations with each of us using about 150 litres every day and this is likely to keep going up.

At the same time climate change could mean that less water will be available in the future.

Because water is so precious, it is everyone’s responsibility to use it wisely.

Remember, if you are on a water meter, saving water also means saving money.

Ofwat advice for conserving water is available at the following links:

More information and advice on saving water is available at the following links:

Your water company will also offer you help saving water.

Further advice on saving money on your water bills is available from ageuk.

CONSERVING WATER IN YOUR GARDEN

During hot and dry weather watering your garden can significantly increase your water useage but there are simple steps you can take to reduce your water bills and protect your community’s water supply, available at The Daily Gardener.

HELP IF YOU'RE OLDER, DISABLED OR ON A LOW INCOME

If you need assistance with paying your water bills or with accessing the services of your water or sewerage company there are a number of schemes available to help you:

  • Special assistance - Water companies should offer assistance so that you are not put at a disadvantage because of your age, disability or illness in comparison with other customers.
  • Charitable Trusts - Many companies offer trust funds or payment matching schemes to help household customers who are in financial difficulty.
  • WaterSure (Vulnerable Groups Scheme) - The WaterSure scheme is available for certain customers with a water meter and allows them to have their bills capped rather than cutting back on how much water they use because they are worried about how they will pay their bill.
  • Water Direct - If you are receiving certain income related benefits you may be eligible to have your water payments deducted direct from your benefits by the Department of Work and Pensions.

INTERRUPTIONS TO YOUR WATER SUPPLY

There will be times due to water main leaks and periods of sustained drought when your water company may interrupt or restrict your supply. More information is available at the Citizens Advice site.

COMPLAINTS ABOUT YOUR WATER SUPPLY

If you have a complaint about your water or sewerage services you should contact your water company.

If you are not satisfied with their response even after escalating the complaint to a senior level you should contact the Consumer Council for Water to investigate the problem on your behalf.

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