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Water bills to rise 3.5%

The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales is to increase by 3.5%.

The jump, which is above inflation, equates to about £13 and will take the average bill for 2013/14 to £388.

Water regulator Ofwat, which announced the increase, defended the move, saying that since 2009/10 the average bill has risen by less than the rate of inflation. It also argued that bills are 10% lower than what the water suppliers themselves want to charge.

Where the money is going

From 2010-2015 Ofwat is overseeing an investment programme into the water infrastructure which is set to cost around £25 billion. And these price rises will go towards paying for those infrastructure improvements.

These include:

  • improving 140 water treatment works and 550 sewage treatment works to maintain and improve the environment and quality of drinking water;
  • improving or replacing more than 10,000km of water mains;
  • cleaning the mains pipe supplies serving more than one million people, helping to reduce discoloured water;
  • helping to guard against water supplies being disrupted by extreme weather events such as flooding;
  • maintaining or improving more than 3,000km of rivers to meet EU environmental standard, as well as improving water quality in more than 55 wetlands;
  • ensuring water companies meet efficiency targets, reduce leakage and increase metering.

Average water bills

The tables below cover the forecast average household bills for 2013/14 (including inflation) for companies offering water-only and water and sewage. Note, there is some rounding with the figures.

Water-only companies


Average water bill 2013/14

Change from 2012/13

Affinity Water Central region



Affinity Water East region


£2 (1.4%)

Affinity Water South East region


£6 (3.1%)



£11 (6.3%)



£4 (2.8%



£3 (1.5%)

Dee Valley


£6 (4.1%)

Northumbrian (Essex & Suffolk)


£6 (2.8%)



£2 (2.3%)

Sembcorp Bournemouth


£2 (1.2%)

South East


£6 (3%)

South Staffordshire


£3 (2.3%)

Sutton & East Surrey


£7 (3.9%)

Water and sewerage companies


Average water bill 2013/14

Change from 2012/13

Average sewerage bill 2013/14

Change from 2013/14

Average combined bill

Average change in combined bill from 2012/13







£12 (2.8%)

Dwr Cymru






£7 (1.7%)

Northumbrian (excluding Essex & Suffolk)






£8 (2.2%)

Severn Trent






£7 (2.2%)

South West*






-£40 (-7.3%)







£23 (5.3%)







£18 (5.5%)

United Utilities






£13 (3.4%)







£22 (4.9%)







£12 (3.3%)

*South West Water customers benefit from a Government contribution which reduces their bills by £50 per year, and is being applied from April 2013.

Cutting your water bill

Unfortunately you can’t shop around and switch water suppliers. But there are ways to cut your water bill.

Get a water meter

A water meter ensures that you only pay for the water you use. For some of us that would mean a bill cut, but others may end up spending even more! The general rule of thumb is that if you have more bedrooms in your house than people, a water meter will probably save you money.

If you don't go for one, while you can't cut your water bill, you can at least reduce your energy bills.

Go for energy efficient products

Another way to reduce your water use is to ensure that the white goods that rely on water – things like washing machines and dishwashers – are as energy efficient as possible. It also pays to ensure you only use them when they are full up!

Change your habits

The easiest way to cut your water use is to change your habits.

That means going for a shower rather than a bath, using a sponge to wash your car rather than a hosepipe, even getting a water butt so that you can water the plants with rainwater rather than water from the tap.

Ask your supplier for help

Most of the water suppliers offer a range of gadgets and gizmos to help you become more water efficient.

My own supplier Affinity Water has teamed up with Big Green Smile, offering discounts on energy efficient bits and bobs like water widgets and aerated shower heads. But others offer such tools free, like Anglian Water or Thames Water.

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