Water meter

If you have a water meter, you only pay for what you use. Houses built or altered after 1989 will usually have a water meter and you can get one for free on request, except in Scotland. 

Water meters can save you money, if you have a small family or live alone. A very simple rule is if you have more bedrooms than people in your home, you may well be better off with a water meter but check with your supplier. 

Many people save money by opting for a water meter, which is usually free. And there is usually an option to change back within a certain time if you find that it’s not for you. Check with your water company provider.

No water meter 

Your bills are estimated, you pay a fixed amount depending on your home’s size. Your bill will be based on your home’s ‘rateable value’, your Council Tax Band.

What do my water bills pay for? 

Many people aren’t aware that about half of your water bill is for wastewater, i.e. the water that drains from your house and has to be treated. 

Some houses have ‘soakaways’ for surface water and others may have drainage systems that don’t drain into public sewers. 

You’ll probably know if this applies to you, but it’s a good idea to check with your water and sewerage company whether they give any allowance on your bill in this situation.

Social tariff

Social tariffs – all water companies offer a social tariff for eligible customers that reduces water bills. 

If you’re on a low income (up to about £21,000 a year), you may be able to access a social tariff. All water companies offer them, and they can reduce your bill by lowering or even capping what you pay, whether you have a water meter or not – though some also require you to be on certain benefits.  Check with your Water Company.

Water Sure Scheme - England and Wales only

If you live in England or Wales, are on certain benefits, have a water meter and use a lot of water because you either have a medical condition or three or more children aged under 19 for whom you claim Child Benefit, you may be able to get help from the Water Sure scheme.

If you meet the criteria for help you can have your water bill capped at the amount of your water company’s average household water bill. 

Who is eligible for Water Sure?  

To qualify for help, you have to live in England or Wales and be getting at least one of the following benefits:  

  • Child Benefit  
  • Housing Benefit  
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income Support 
  • Pension Credit 
  • Working Tax Credit 
  • Universal Credit 

You also have to be: 

  • entitled to receive Child Benefit for three or more children under the age of nineteen who live with you, or 
  • diagnosed as having, or have someone living with you who has a medical condition.

You can apply for Water Sure by filling out a form from your water company. You will need to supply evidence that you qualify, such as a copy of your awards notice for one of the benefits above.If you’re not sure who your water company is check Find Water Companies

Priority Service

You can also sign up to a Priority Service to get free extra help from your water company. This could be because of an illness, disability, health condition or communication needs; you can also register if you need short-term support.

Please contact your company to see if you are eligible for extra help. 

Each company provide slightly different schemes but will usually help if you: 

    • have sight problems 
    • are deaf or hard of hearing
    • have home dialysis
    • use a wheelchair or have mobility concerns
    • are a new parent
    • are concerned about unwanted callers
    • would like someone else to manage your account.


If you live in Scotland you’ll usually get your water from Scottish Water unless you have a separate private water source. 

If you don’t have a water meter, and you are not on a private water supply, then your local council will bill and collect your water and wastewater charge. Your local council collects these charges for Scottish Water, and you can find details of how to pay on your Council Tax bill. 

If you have any questions about your bill, including payment options and any discounts or exemptions, get in touch with your local Council. You can find out who your council is here: Scotland Councils.

For more information check with Scottish Water.

Northern Ireland  

NI Water may provide free extra services if you are an older consumer, have a serious medical condition or need extra help for any other reason. You can find out more here: NI Water Customer Care

Other support

Many water companies run hardship schemes or fund independent charitable trusts to help you pay off your water bill if you’re in debt. Our Money Advice Team are trained to help or you can contact your water company directly to ask what schemes are available.

Water saving

Many of the Water Companies provide free water saving devices. Either check with your water company or check these Water Saving Tips

Perennial's support

If you need help or information about getting support for your water costs or advice on how to apply for a water hardship fund or you’re not sure you are receiving all the welfare benefits you are entitled to, we can help. 

Simply fill in our Services Contact Form or call our Helpline on 0800 093 8543 and one of the team will be in touch.

All advice is free and fully confidential. 

The helpline is open 9am – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday. Excludes bank holidays.