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Eight ways to cut your water bill

Jane Baker
by Lovemoney Staff Jane Baker on 18 August 2008  |  Comments 82 comments

Water bills are set to stretch your household finances even further, depending on where you live. Here's how to beat the price hikes.

Eight ways to cut your water bill

The average water bill is set to go up again this year, with some areas seeing hikes up of up to 3.5%.

And I'm afraid that doesn't tell the whole story. As always, it's a water rate postcode lottery, with households served by Northumbrian Water set to be hit the hardest this year, while lucky United Utilities customers will see a 4.3% bill reduction in their bills.

On average, however, most unmetered bills will now be £361 a year. That's a lot of money down the drain!

Unfortunately, the current system means you are obliged to stay with your current, local supplier - you cannot switch and save the way you can with your energy bills.

Still, there are ways to save. If you're looking for ways to cut your water bill, then here are my top eight tips:

1. Have a water meter installed

To save money on your water bill you will need to have a water meter fitted first. A non-metered supply is subject to fixed costs regardless of how much -- or indeed, how little -- water you use. By fitting a water meter you will only pay for the water you actually use, which means you will probably be more conscious of the amount of water you’re getting through, helping to keep your bill down too.

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Many people find they are better off with a water meter. What’s more, the meter should be installed free of charge and if you change your mind, you can go back to a non-metered supply (as long as you do so within the period specified by the water company. Typically this could be 12 or 18 months).

However, water meters are not always a good idea. Read The smart way to cut your water bill to find out whether a water meter really would save you money.

2. Fix leaks

Dripping taps and leaking pipes and appliances really are money down the drain. You would be amazed how much water is wasted just by letting a tap drip all day long.

3. Energy-efficient white goods

Don’t run your washing machine or dishwasher half full. When you need to buy new white goods go for energy-efficient appliances that use the least amount of water. If you’re not sure, check with the manufacturer before you buy.

4. Don’t run taps when you don’t need to

Don’t leave the tap running constantly while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. Turn the tap off so you only use what you need. Not doing so could waste ten litres of water alone. And the same goes for washing-up. Use a bowl of water rather than running the tap.

5. Use a water hippo

Older style water cisterns -- those installed before 1993 -- use around 9 to 12 litres for flushing. Put in an easy to fit water hippo -- or other similar device -- and instantly reduce the amount of water you use.

6. Take a shower instead of a bath

A quick shower should use far less water than a bath. But be careful if you have a power shower because it can use more water in five minutes than it takes to fill your bath.

7. Use a sponge to wash your car

Using a hosepipe could easily waste around 90 litres of water in just ten minutes. Using a bucket and sponge to wash your car is far more water-efficient.

8. Keep cool drinking water in the fridge

Store water you plan to drink in the fridge rather than running the tap to get it cold.

Tell us your tips

Got any tips of your own? Please post them using the comments box below!

This article was updated in April 2010 using the latest statistics.

More: Cut Your Energy Bills By 75% | Keep your gas and electricity bills down by comparing suppliers at The Fool

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Comments (82)

  • eLJay
    Love rating 78
    eLJay said

    "This is because the SW residents have had to pay for the clean up of the water and coasts in this area and because we are a tourist zone, I don't think we get any help from the government"

    Then why not tax the tourists and those coming here to their second homes rather than those who actually live and work here!

    Report on 19 April 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • sylvester262
    Love rating 0
    sylvester262 said

    Let's nationalise these water companies. We (the British people) need the profits more than the fat cats do!

    "Wouldn't that be expensive?" I hear you all cry...

    Not necessarily. The government could simply make a compulsory purchase order one afternoon, just after the markets close, of all the shares of all the water companies at the closing price that day. Instead of paying cash, issue exchange-tradable 'Water Bonds' paying about 5-6% to every shareholder. Investors can either keep them or sell them. Either way, they don't lose out.

    Continue to operate the companies as though they were private businesses - i.e. pay managers a sensible salary plus bonuses to run them efficiently. OFWAT would represent the government as owner of the companies - on our behalf - and could fix prices for each company to ensure that about a 10% profit each year is made, at the same time as ensuring the infrastructure is well maintained and gradually improved.

    Then, in future, instead of paying dividends to shareholders, the water companies pay interest on the bonds.

    Here comes the good bit...

    The leftover profits (4-5%) - currently overpaid to greedy directors and wasted on marketing(!) and God knows what else - get used to buy back the bonds on the market.

    About 15-20 years later, all the bonds will have been bought back, and we'll have a collection of water companies entirely owned by the British people, operated for the benefit of the British people.

    Then, consumers can enjoy reduced water bills and/or profits will be collected by the government, thus reducing the overall tax burden slightly.

    Meters would be mandantory for every customer. (Somehow FIND a way of

    fitting them to flats - even if it means putting them outside the

    building and running extra pipes to each unit)

    Profits would continue to be taxed, as they are now, so there'd be no change to revenues there. (They would continue to operate as indepenent companies, just like they are now, just with different shareholders...)

    This strategy (essentially re-nationalise using fixed-rate bonds) could of course be applied to the other utilities and national infrastructures. Everyone in the country would be a little better off, and the goverment would make a useful total income from the modest profits the companies would aim to make.

    All this would cost virtually nothing. No one would lose out (except the fat cats). We could do this now.

    Report on 19 April 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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