Water bills are to rise by up to 8.8pc but you can take steps to keep your costs down.
The number of calls for help with water debts has increased by more than 30pc in 2011. Nearly 10pc of all callers who contact the National Debtline, are struggling to pay their bills , compared to just 3pc of callers five years ago.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said that paying water bills has become increasingly difficult for many households across the country.
She (SNP: ^SHEY - news) said: "Planned price rises will most likely make the problem even worse. While the price rises may be in line with inflation, they are not in line with any growth in earnings, meaning water bills will take up more and more of the money we bring in."
If you are struggling to pay your water bill, there are ways to cut costs. Read on for five ways to save money on water bills.
= 1. SWITCH TO A WATER METER =
Most people's bills are "rate-based", which means your bills are dependent on the size of your house rather than the amount of water you use. Small families and pensioners in big homes are likely to be better off having a meter installed.
As a rule of thumb, if you have more bedrooms than occupants, a meter is likely to be cheaper. The water services regulation authority, Ofwat, estimates metering can reduce household water consumption by more than 20pc. On an average annual bill of £376 this would be a saving of £75.
There is no charge for having a meter fitted and you can switch back to the unmetered charge at any time within 12 months if metering turns out to be more expensive unless you are in a universal water meter area. If a meter cannot be fitted, water companies can offer an alternative unmeasured tariff which may be lower than the current bill.
If you use a lot of water because of a medical condition and you also receive benefits such as pension credit, you may be able to pay a lower water bill under the WaterSure scheme. Estimate your metered charge at www.tinyurl.com/35dmp36 or contact your water company for details.
= 2. USE WATER-SAVING DEVICES =
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average person in Britain uses 150 litres of water every day and 33pc of this is running down the drain in the shower.
If a family of four replace their inefficient shower head with a water-efficient one they could save around £72 off their gas bills and around £72 off their water bills each year an annual savings of nearly £150.
New water-efficient shower heads are an easy way to save both water and energy. They are most effective on mixer showers with a high flow rate.
However, bear in mind that most flow-restricting devices specifically say that they should not be used with a power shower. Before attaching any energy-saving device, it is vital that you read the small print, specifically the fitting and operational instructions.
Fitting a shower with a flow-restricting shower head may also void any manufacturer's warranty or guarantee, so it is worth contacting the shower manufacturer directly to see what products may have designed specifically for use your model.
= 3. TURN OF THE TAPS =
A running tap wastes more than six litres of water a minute, so turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face. Using a sink of water to wash up twice a day rather than having the hot tap running could save around £34 a year on your gas bill and around £25 on your water bill.
= 4. DON'T BE A DRIP =
Fixing a dripping tap can save as much as 75 litres per day or more than 5,500 litres of water a year, according to figures from Severn Trent Water, so make sure your taps are properly turned off and change washers promptly when taps start to drip.
= 5. IN THE GARDEN =
Use a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or a hosepipe. A running garden hose can use as much as a thousand litres of water in an hour. If there are tasks that are not suitable for a watering can, use a hose trigger control. That way you can direct water specifically to the areas in the garden that need it and cut your outdoor water usage.
If you have a garden and access to a drain you can save a significant amount of mains water by installing a water butt. Each year your roof collects around 85,000 litres of water enough to fill 450 water butts a year. Contact your water company to see if you are eligible for a free water butt or can get a discount.