With water bills on the up, here’s a guide to help you figure out how much the average water bill is where you are, how your bill is calculated, and where you use most of your water.
According to Water UK, the average household water bill in England and Wales is now around £448 a year. This follows a £31 rise in April, taking average bills up from £417 last year. However, due to differences in locations and usage, your bill will be different, and many saw above average price rises this year.
If you are finding it tough, see our help with your water bill article for how to cut costs.
How much is the average water bill?
The average water bill in the UK hovers at around £448 a year. This means that the current average water bill is around £37.30 per month, around 60p more than it was up until April 2023.
Keep in mind that there is no single rate for water use across the UK. The amount you are billed depends on your location, property size, and if you have a water meter. Based on that, your actual water bill might be slightly higher or lower.
That being said, we can roughly see what the average household pays for each of the water companies in the UK:
|Water firm||Current prices||Old prices||Change in prices|
|Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water||£499||£485||+£14|
Figures are averages across all customers of each firm and are estimated based on forecast data provided by water companies to Water UK. Your individual bill may be more or less than the average depending on whether you have a water meter and how much water you use.
How much can I expect to pay on a water meter?
As a rough rule of thumb, if you have more bedrooms than the number of people living in your home – or the same number – you may be able to save by switching to a water meter. See help with your water bill for more.
If we consider that you’re using a water meter and have a large family, the household water usage will highly depend on how many people live in the house and their personal needs.
Here we’ve listed an example of Southern Water, which includes water and sewage prices.
- 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.
Water bills in Scotland and Northern Ireland work differently
In Scotland, water and sewerage prices depend on your council tax band and are billed together with your council tax. These charges are referred to as ‘unmeasured charges’. For a complete breakdown of the charges, you can have a look at Scottish Water’s website.
In Northern Ireland, there are no domestic water charges.
How is my water bill calculated?
When it comes down to paying for water usage, water companies calculate your bills in two ways:
- Fixed water rates: You pay a set amount for your domestic water and sewage service (which can either be included or billed separately). This is also known as ‘rateable billing’ when bills are based on the size of your home, where you live, and the local amenities.
- Water meter: This way, you only pay for the units of water you use. Your domestic water readings are taken from a water meter and you are sent a bill for the amount you have used since your previous bill.
The average £448 water bill typically includes £215 for water costs and £233 for sewerage – which is the cost of maintaining and getting rid of sewage.
In a way, water suppliers are different from other utility suppliers (electricity and gas for example). You can’t switch your water supply providers for cheaper water deals like you would doing an energy comparison. But, you can change the way you’re being billed to get a better price.
Find out which method of water bill charging is right for your home in our guide to water meters.
If you’re worried about whether switching to a water meter is worth it or not, remember that you can always switch back to unmetered bills within the first 12 months. You always have the option to go back.
However, you can’t do this if you have moved to a house where a meter has been pre-installed, or if there is a universal metering system for everyone in your area.
How much water do I use each month?
According to Water UK, the average person in the UK uses 142 litres of water a day, as compared to 121 litres in Germany.
For a two-person household, this works out at around £284 a day, and you’re looking at around 8,520 litres of water used in a month.
This also means that an average family of four in the UK could use more than 500 litres each day, which is around 15,000 litres every month.
It’s important to remember that these figures are only an average and that your personal water usage could be influenced by a number of factors.
Where do I use all this water every day?
A lot of people don’t realise how much water gets used in day-to-day activities, such as taking a shower or washing their hands. Here’s an understanding of some basic usage so you know how to save water at home:
- A power shower uses around 13 litres every minute.
- A bath can take up to 80 litres per full bath.
- Every toilet flush uses around 5 to 9 litres.
- Your washing machine uses 50 litres per cycle.
- A dishwasher uses 14 litres every cycle or 10 litres on eco-setting.
- Each time you wash your hands, you use up to 30 litres on a running tap.
- Washing your car can take up to 250 litres if you use a hose or 30 litres with a bucket.
If you’re struggling to pay your water bill, contact your water company to see if they can help. You can work out how much you can pay and agree on this amount with them, to avoid having the stress and expenses of having this issue taken further.
All companies offer some kind of support, be it providing repayment plans, discounts, or even a hardship scheme. You can also find help with the water bill here to save on your finances.