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How much is the average water bill per month?

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If your parents ever told you off when you were younger for asking them to buy you drink, when you can pour yourself a free glass of water - they weren’t technically right! Water will cost you, according to Water UK, on average, £396.60 a year, or £33.05 a month in 2020/21.

Obviously, the amount you pay will vary depending on where you live. For example, if you’re up in the North West of England, you’ll pay £18 more on average, while you’ll save £14 in parts of the west country.

How much is the average water bill per month?

Water companies charge in two different ways. The first is unmetered and calculates a set rate that is decided upon by your home’s ‘rateable’ value. The second method is metered, where you are billed for the amount of water you use. If your water bill is unmetered and you feel the bills are too high, you can ask your supplier to change to a metered bill.

Your water usage may not actually have much correlation with your water bill. That’s certainly the case if you don’t have a water meter. In this instance, your bill will be made up of a fixed charge and a charge based on the rateable value of your home.

The rateable value is based on your local authority’s assessment of the rental value of your home. What is annoying is that this rating took place between 1973 and 1990 - so it’s hardly up to date, and you can’t even appeal if you think the rateable value is too high either.

So to sum up - what you pay is out of your hands, has nothing to do with how much water you’re actually using, and is based on how much your house was worth in 1990.

The silver lining here is that if you do use a load of water, you should get your money's worth.

If you live on your own or you don’t use a lot of water as a household, you might want to switch to a metered bill. This means your bill will be made up of a fixed charge AND a volumetric charge, covering your exact use. How much you pay will really depend on how much water you use.

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It’s worth trying out your water providers water meter calculator so see if you could cut down your bills. You can find your water provider on the Water UK website (Opens in a new window) And don’t worry if it’s not working out for you because switching to a water meter doesn’t have to be a permanent move either. You can switch back to unmetered bills within the first 12 months.

Average water bill per month by family size or number of occupants

Assuming you’re on a water meter and have a large family, the household water use varies enormously depending on the number of people in a house and their personal needs.

According to Waterwise, the average amount of water usage in cubic meters in, a home of:

  • one person - 66 (per year)

  • two people - 110

  • three people - 136

  • four people - 165

  • five people - 182

  • six people - 200.

The amount of money this is will cost will differ based on the area you live and the water company your area is served by.

That said, if you take Southern Water (Opens in a new window) as an example, and using water AND wastewater as a standard:

  • one person - £286 per year and £23 per month

  • two people - £401 per year and £33 per month

  • three people - £516 per year and £43 per month

  • four people - £597 per year and £49 per month

  • five people - £663 per year and £55 per month

  • six people - £728 per year and £60 per month.

Average water bill per month by house size (number of rooms)

The size of your property can have a big influence on the cost of your monthly bills, including your water one. If you don’t have a meter, the more people who live in a house, generally, the more water that will be used.

This is because of the people in it, using the water rather than the amount of rooms.

If you aren’t on a water meter and your bills are fixed depending on your property’s size, it doesn’t matter if you’re the only one living in a 10 bedroom house, your water bill will be exactly the same as your neighbour that has 10 people living in it - even if they are using 10x the water you do.

So the amount of rooms you have will matter if you are on a fixed tariff, because it is likely that the amount of rooms will determine how much your house is worth.

Because of this, it’s next to impossible to put an average price based on rooms but we can take just one example, Thames Water (Opens in a new window) - 2020/21, for an idea of the prices.

  • studio/one bedroom - £300.82 per year or £25.07 per month

  • two bedrooms - £319.20 per year or £26.60 per month

  • three bedrooms - £353.44 or £29.45 per month

  • four bedrooms - £380.07 or £31.72 per month

  • five or more - £417.07 or £34.75 per month.

How can I cut my water bill?

If you don’t have a fixed water meter, there’s not a lot you can do to cut your water bill. You can try out a water meter which will measure how much water you’re using and charge you based on that, which might save you some cash.

If you are on a water meter, there are loads you can do - and there’s no need to be drastic and stop showering or leaving pots out hoping it will rain so you can do the dishes, cutting down on water use can be pretty painless.

If you’re on a low income and struggling to pay, your water company may put you on a special tariff and offer other support as well. Look on your bill or their website for what’s available. 

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We also have a useful guide on How to save money on water bills. For example, according to the Energy Saving Trust, if a family of four replace their inefficient shower head with a water-efficient one, they could save around £120 off their water bills a year - that’s £9.30 a month. That’s a massive saving!  

There’s also guidance on what water companies must do to support you if you’re struggling to pay your bill. 

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