Did you know households in the UK use an average of 330 litres of water each day? About 15% of a typical gas-heated household's heating bill is from heating water or showers, baths and hot water from the tap. This costs on average about £80 a year.
If you’re on a water meter, saving water can reduce your water bill and reduce your energy use and bills, putting more money in your pocket.
Here are some tips for saving water (and money):
- It’s obvious, but worth saying… use less water, hot water in particular.
- Make sure you have the controls on your water heating system set correctly to give you enough hot water when you want it, and not when you don’t.
- Gas is cheaper than electricity or oil, so consider switching if you can.
- Water-efficient shower heads and tap adaptors use less water.
- Have showers not baths. Spending one minute less in the shower each day will save around £10 off your annual energy bill each year and £10 off your water bill. A five-minute shower uses about 40 litres of water. This is about half the volume of a standard bath.
- 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. Use cold water if you don't need hot.
- A dripping tap can waste more than 5,500 litres of water a year, so make sure your taps are properly turned off and change washers promptly when taps start to drip.
- Make it go further, try to avoid wasting water from running taps while waiting for hot water.
- Make sure that dishwashers and washing machines are full before you use them, and always use the most efficient water and energy settings.
- Using a washing up bowl to wash up plates or cutlery twice a day rather than having the hot tap running could save around £25 a year on your gas bill and about £30 on your water.
- Use a water-saving device in your toilet cistern. Depending on the size of your cistern, you could save between one and three litres each time you flush the toilet.
- Use a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or a hosepipe. Garden sprinklers and hosepipes left running can use between 500 and 1,000 litres of water an hour.
- Think about fitting a water butt to collect rainwater off your roof. Water butts usually store about 200 litres of water. As well as being better for watering your plants, using rainwater in the garden reduces the amount of treated water you use. Contact your local authority as some provide these free.
- Water meters can help reduce water use and lower bills – you pay for what you use. Customers who live alone, small families, lower water users, and people living in high rateable value properties often benefit. Fitting is generally free. If you opt for a meter you can revert to the set rate within two years. This is not an option if a meter is fitted for a new Curo customer. Since October 2016 customers moving into a house (but not an apartment) will have a water meter fitted if there’s not one already at the property, there is no opt-out of this.
Need more help?
Money can be a worry for all of us and sometimes we struggle to get by. We’ve been working with Bristol Water and Wessex Water to find out how they can help you with your water bill. They understand that people are finding it hard to pay their household bills and this includes their water bill.
They have many ways to help from having a meter fitted for free, spreading the cost of your bills, lowering water bills, discounts for customers on Pension Credit, paying your bill through benefits and even helping you repay debt and get back on track.
You can also order free water-saving items from your water supply company, which could help to reduce the size of your water and your energy bill. We have 50 water-saving packs to give away, first-come-first-serve, one per household. Call in to The Maltings or send us a message – please bring some ID.
If you’re a Wessex Water customer, they have a range of schemes and low rate tariffs to help reduce on going water charges or repay debts along with practical help to reduce water and energy use.
- They offer a service called Assist if customers are in extreme financial difficulty and cannot afford their water bill. With Assist, customers pay a lower bill than normal based on their ability to pay, up to 90% discount. It can be used alongside their Restart and Restart Plus schemes.
- You need to seek free independent advice before applying and will need to provide details of income, household bills and any debts or savings. I suggest the CAB, National Debtline, Stepchange, CAP or Pay Plan to name just a few sources of advice. If you’re waiting to receive debt advice and need a hold on your account, you can contact Wessex Water to let them know which money advice agency the appointment is with, the date and time and the advisor's name if known.
- You must continue to pay what you can afford while you’re applying for help. Once Wessex Water has received your application, they will let you know within five working days if you’ve been accepted and what will happen next.
- Restart is a two-year debt repayment scheme from Wessex Water. It can be combined with any of their low-rate tariffs. It rewards customers for paying their on-going water charges and is designed to get customers back on track with payments.
- WaterSure Plus caps bills for metred customers who need to use extra water. This scheme can help people on a low income who have a water meter. It will put a limit on charges for water and sewerage services as long as the customer meets the certain conditions.
So if you’re struggling to pay bills, get in touch as soon as possible. Help’s available and you’re always better off talking to someone. Avoiding the problem may make it worse in the long- term.
To get in touch with Bristol Water or Wessex Water visit their websites for contact details. And remember, Curo's Customer Accounts Team is on hand to help you if you’re struggling to make payments – get in touch here.