Did you know that each individual in a household uses somewhere from 80-100 gallons of water every single day? The average household in the UK uses 27,000 litres of water per year. That’s equivalent to using a bathtub full of water each day!
If you use this much water on your daily activities it can be difficult to cut down at first, but there are some easy steps you can take to reduce how much is used without making too many changes.
In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect for your average water bill in the UK, how you can cut down on your water usage and how much that could save you each month.
What is the Average Water Bill in the UK?
According to water.org.uk, the average yearly water bill for households is £413.33.
In order for citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) to understand what they pay for per year, one must first understand the components of a water bill.
As previously mentioned, 27,000 litres of drinking quality tap water is used annually with public mains supplies.
Additionally, each household will use an average of 8000 litres for the flushing of toilets (i.e., WCs), baths/showers, spas or swimming pools, and approximately 4000 litres to water gardens. Of course, that last bit is assuming that they have a garden to water.
Chances are that water usage will just come from somewhere else if you don’t have a garden.
The good news is that despite UK inflation, their rates for water usage have pretty much stayed the same, and even come down in recent years. In fact, water.org.uk announced that for 2020/2021 “the average annual bill will come down from £413.33 to £396.60, although there will be variations from company to company“.
While bills like energy bills are consistently on the rise, fortunately we can depend on our water bills to be a bit more constant.
What you will find is that the Water UK Chief executive is very supportive of keeping rates reasonable while still providing quality water and responsible wastewater management.
You will find that the UK also has resources for people struggling to pay the water bill. We will talk about that in more detail later in the article.
The recent inflation rate rise was minimal considering the fact that those rates have remained steadfast through the years.
Water Bill Calculations
We did some playing around with the number to try to figure out just what you might be able to expect for your water bill. There are calculator tools out that that can help determine your usage and the costs for such usage.
Here are some examples and their results. For the purpose of these calculations, we utilise the calculator available from Anglian Water Services Limited.
For a single person household that takes regular showers, washes 3 loads of laundry a week, 2 loads of dishes, and waters their garden 4 times in a hot summer, the average usage is about 169 litres per day. This is considered above average for a single individual but the estimated yearly bill for this usage calculates to £314.
Totals courtesy of Anglian Water Services Limited calculator.
Now, let’s run a similar calculation for a couple. In this calculation, we raised the number of people in the home to 2, added a couple of showers so they have showers almost daily, kept loads of laundry at 3, dishes at 2, and watering the garden in the summer.
The usage actually reduced slightly to 121 litres per day and the annual cost went up very little for the added person.
These totals also came from the Anglian Water Services Limited.
But what about a family with several kids? We can look at that too! For the next calculation, we factored 5 people into the household. We assumed that each member would bathe almost daily. We chose 5 loads of laundry each week and 7 loads of dishes and left the garden watering the same.
Again, water usage per person was reduced because the water being used actually serviced more people at one time. Interesting, eh?
You can use the calculation for any number in the household and whatever you think realistically fits your situation. The key here is that more people doesn’t necessarily mean that the water usage is excessive. It obviously will be higher, but there are also times that the water used will be used in a more conservative manner because it’s benefitting everyone in the house and little water is being wasted.
The Anglian Water Services Limited calculator is a great resource for the area to try to plan water usage and the possible bill they can expect for retail water services. The numbers will change for water consumers based on their usage and their activity, but this gives you a general idea.
How Are Water Bills Calculated?
So how exactly do they calculate the water bill? They don’t just randomly pull out a number for water consumers and say “ok here’s your number!”.
In most cases, water is charged based on water meter calculators. The water meter tracks your water usage, and then average household water bills are calculated based on the usage from the water meter and the current water rates of the company they get water service from.
Some water companies are unmetered and instead charge water rates based on the rateable value of the home you reside in. In this case, the water rates are designated to the home regardless of actual usage or the number of people contributing to household water bills.
If for some reason you are in an unmetered property and feel like you’re overpaying, you might be able to save money by requesting that a water meter be used – this may or may not save money water wise on the bill.
In the case of no water meter, the water company rateable value used is the assessment of the rental value of that property. That value is typically outdated, so it’s possible if you want to save money on water bills you will need to request a meter for a more accurate representation of usage.
It’s a good idea to view bills so you understand the water rates and how your water company bill or usage is calculated. It also may be an opportunity to track usage and determine if the water bill charging might be incorrect as well.
Keep in mind that your water company will have both water bills and sewerage bills typically. The water may come from the reading or the water meter, but the sewerage bills may be a standardised rate (or be based on other specific factors).
According to Southern Water, the smallest change in your water routine might have a significant impact on your household charges scheme and end up costing you money. Did you know that if you take regular baths, you could switch for a shower and a few bucks each year?
Tips for Saving on Your Water Bill
Now that we’ve discussed some basic statistics and just exactly what goes into the water bill, let’s talk about how you can save money on your water bill in the UK as well. If you want to save money on water bills, you can take small steps to make a big difference.
One step in reducing monthly bills is through regular maintenance around your home . Make sure any leaking faucets are repaired immediately, don’t leave hoses attached while not in use, keep sprinkler systems adjusted properly so they aren’t watering during the hottest parts of the day, and so on.
Install Rain Barrels
Another great way to save money on a monthly basis is by installing rain barrels. If you’re looking at putting in new landscaping, consider native plants over grasses (which require more watering, making them less efficient overall).
Less Baths, More Showers
We mentioned before that changing your routine from baths to showers could make a difference. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy a long soak in the tub, but try cut down on the number of them that you enjoy. This could save you ₤50 a year at least.
If you’re the type of person that likes to take long showers, you should know that this is costing you money. A good way to save money water usage is to reduce your shower if possible. Reducing the shower by even a minute every shower could impact your annual charges and that adds up over time!
Another change to your habits you might be able to make is to not run the kitchen tap for long periods of time. When you’re washing dishes, do you tend to just run the water while you wash?
Did you know that if you use a bowl or plug the sink drain, you might be able to save yourself £50 a year or more? This particular instance is actually one of the biggest water wastes that occur in most homes.
Load It Up
When you run the dishes or the laundry, make sure you are running full loads so that the water used is not wasted. Washing half loads or not using up all of the available space in the dishwasher or washing machine requires more loads to be run and it doesn’t put your water to work for you.
If you make strides in all of these areas, you could significantly save money water on your bill.
Help When You Need It: Social Tariffs
Some companies offer social tariffs. These tariffs are basically a discount for anyone who is considered low income or perhaps receiving certain benefits that might qualify them for the assistance. Water companies do have different household charges scheme work so it’s important to check with your water company to see what they can do for you.
Additionally, some companies use a portion of water company profits to assist with household water bills or contribute to charities that provide additional assistance.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are struggling to manage your household water bills commitment, take the time to check with your company to see what they have available. You might be surprised at the options and how they are willing to help.
What is in the Average Water Bill in UK in a 1-Bed Flat?
In a 1 bed flat, you can expect to pay somewhere around £35 a month for average use.
How Can I Save Money on Water?
Try shortening your shower time or filling a bowl with water for your dishes rather than running constant water.
Can I Qualify for a Sewerage Rebate?
This will be up to your water company but you may be able to qualify