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Saving water to save money

Young boy washing his head and hair in the shower

By reducing the amount of hot water you use, you’ll also cut your bills for gas, electricity or oil. And those on a water meter will save money that way, too.

Last updated, April 2024

The average person in the UK uses 145 litres of water a day. That’s almost enough to fill two baths! We’ve got lots of information on how to save money on your water bill.

Save on hot water costs

Showers and baths account for around a quarter of a household’s water usage. Heating the water for these activities can make up 10-20% of energy bills. Washing dishes and doing laundry also require heated water, adding to these energy costs.

Opting for a shower instead of a bath can save around 40% of the water used, and consequently, the cost of heating that water. However, the water efficiency of your shower matters and how long you use it for – some power showers can use as much water as a bath.

To reduce costs:

The pie-chart below show’s a typical household’s water consumption (figures from Energy Saving Trust)

Pie-chart showing how a typical household uses water:  Shower 25%, Toilet 22%, Bath 8%, Bathroom 
hot tap 7%, Hand wash dishes 4%, Dishwasher 1%, Washing machine 9%, Car 1%, Garden 1%, Other (cold taps) 22%

Save on general water costs

Cutting your total water consumption is particularly important if you pay for your water using a meter. A water meter reflects your actual usage and your bills will therefore be lower if you use less water.

Save water in the bathroom

Around 70% of our household water use happens in the bathroom. You can save water through simple behaviour changes and installing water-saving devices.

Running taps use over 10 litres per minute. Turn off taps while brushing teeth, shaving, or washing.

Check your toilet for leaks. Pour food colouring in the tank and wait 15 minutes. If the water in the bowl changes colour, you need to adjust the toilet’s stop-cock in the cistern.

Fix any dripping taps. A dripping tap can waste up to 90 litres per week – a full bath’s worth!

30% of household water goes to flushing toilets. Install a dual-flush system or put a water-saving bag (sometimes called a ‘hippo’) in the toilet tank.

Duck bath toy

Save water in the kitchen

Wash up in a bowl, not the sink.

Wash fruit and veg in a bowl instead of under a running tap.

Thinking of a new washing machine or dishwasher? While all new appliances use much less water (and energy) than old ones, some are better than others, so check the small print to find the most efficient model. On average, you’ll save £80 a year by replacing an old appliance with a new B or C rated one

Keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge. Waiting for the tap to run cold can waste more than 10L of tap water a day.

Three colourful kitchen washing-up brushes

Save water in the garden

Water use in the garden increases in the spring and summer, which is also when water is scarcest.

The main ‘culprit’ is the hosepipe which can use up to 1,000 litres in an hour – that’s more than most families use in a day. So get a water-saving trigger for your hosepipe or use a watering can instead.

Fit a water butt to collect rain water. Many plants prefer rainwater to tap water, and some water companies can provide water butts quite cheaply, from around £20.

When washing your car use a bucket and a sponge.

Watering your plants in the morning or evening and using mulch around them will reduce evaporation.

Old-fashioned and slightly battered metal garden watering can

Go to to find out if your water company gives out free or discount water saving devices”

Other ways to cut the cost of your water bill

You can’t choose your water supplier, but there may still be ways to lower what you are currently paying.

How you chose to pay will not affect your bill, and so it can be a matter of personal preference. Most people pay in weekly, fortnightly, or monthly instalments. You can use a payment book, pay individually each time, or opt for direct debit.

Unmetered or metered?

If you’re unmetered you pay a fixed amount for your water regardless of how much you use. Rates are calculated in roughly the same way as council tax with bills based on a home’s size, or ‘rateable value’.

If you’re metered you pay only for water you actually use, measured by a water meter in cubic metres or cubic feet.

You could save money by having a water meter installed, depending on how much water you use and how much you currently pay. Generally, if there are fewer people than bedrooms in your house, consider getting a meter. Most water companies operate a two year trial period where you can switch back to unmetered billing if you prefer. If a water meter can’t be fitted, your bill may be reduced based on an ‘assessed charge’ of your household situation.


Sewerage charge is for taking away waste water and surface water for example rain water that falls around your house and runs down the drain. Some people don’t need to pay for this or may be entitled to a rebate, as they do not use the public sewerage system.

In most places water and sewerage are billed together, meaning that you only pay one company for both services. However, in some areas you may receive two separate bills.

Social tariffs

Many water companies have special tariffs for customers struggling to pay their bills. You should contact your water company about these tariffs if:

Also, your water company may hold a list of households who would be particularly affected if their water supply is disrupted. This list is usually called the Priority Services Register, and the support offered will vary. Speak to yours for more information.

Help with bills

If you live in the Wessex Water area (Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire) and have a water debt or are struggling to afford your repayments, we can help you apply for support.

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