Warning: water bills to rise by a whopping 70% by 2030

Suppliers are proposing water bill hikes to solve debt, but consumer watchdog warns that it will shake up UK household costs

Water bills to rise in 2030
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A number of household bills have been rising with council tax, broadband and mobile just of the April price hikes on the cards.

But of the biggest hikes could be from your water company, the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) has warned.

Water bills in the UK could to rise by up to an eye-watering 70% over the next five years, according to analysis by the watchdog. 

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This news comes after water companies are trying to push annual payments to over £800 by the end of 2030 to fund improvement plans for the water and sewage network, from maintenance repairs to debt servicing and encouraging investments into the water industry. Southern Water has the highest forecast at 70% increases in water bills, which come up to about £337. 

But these hikes would add insult to injury for UK households who are already facing high mortgage rates, council tax rises and mobile and broadband bill hikes, despite slowing inflation and top savings rates in the market. Only about two in five customers can afford the increase, according to the CCW. 

We look at how much your water bill could go up by and what water suppliers can do to help cut costs for households. 

 How much will my water bill go up? 

Your water bill could go up by up to 70% or £337 in the next five years. Every water supplier has proposed different hikes to service debt and level up maintenance costs, which means that what you pay will depend on where you live. 

The water bill rises over the next five years will hit customers harder than before, as research by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research suggests that household disposable incomes have already fallen by up to 17% between 2019-24. And with trust in the water sector already at a 12-year low, this is only going to get worse.

Anita Dougall, CEO of consultancy Sagacity which works with Thames, Southern and Yorkshire Water argues that water companies shouldn’t service their debt by raising bills, as this will “bring panic to many that pay their water bills religiously” and calls it “unfair”. 

We’ve listed the projected rises in water bills across the UK. If you’re unsure about which water supplier you fall under, find out who your water supplier is.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Water suppliersIncrease (%)Increase (£)
South West48234
Severn Trent46208
Dwr Cymru40199
United Utilities39189
Northumbrian 37157

Source: Consumer Council for Water

What is the average water bill in the UK in 2024?

 While the above changes are set to take place from next year onwards, households will still face a rise in water bills this year. 

The average water bill in England and Wales will hover at around £473 a year, according to Water UK, which is an increase of about £28 from April 2023. For Scotland, this will come up to be about £35.95 more. If you live in Northern Ireland, there are no domestic water charges as of now. 

Bear in mind that water rates vary across the country, and what you are billed depends on your location, property size, and if you have a water meter

 What’s next for water suppliers?

Dougall suggests that instead of companies servicing their debt by raising bills for water customers, they could recoup funds from customers who have been incorrectly billed. 

She adds: “Inaccurate occupier data means countless properties in the UK are not billed for their water supply, leaving black holes in companies' budgets. While switching off the taps isn't an option, suppliers can ensure those who can pay do.

“By gaining a better understanding of who is consuming water and their personal situation, suppliers can both protect vulnerable customers, and recover rightful revenue to keep price rises to a minimum.”

Dougall asks Ofwat to step and work with suppliers and CCW to regulate price hikes, so that everyone can have fair access to water. She says that this way, “suppliers can claim the money they’re owed, while helping bill payers keep their heads above water."

 How to cut your water bill 

Here are a few things you can do to stay on top of your household costs and usage: 

Get a free water meter: This could mean big savings for your household if you live in England or Wales, as you could cut £100s on your household costs. Contact your water supplier either online or over the phone to find out what options are available. 

Try reducing your water usage: By simple measures such as upgrading your shower head to an energy-efficient one, turning off taps when brushing or fixing leaky taps, you could save your household chunks of cash. Plus, get hold of water-saving freebies from your supplier while you can. 

Get an assessed charge bill: If you don’t have a water meter, try getting an assessed charge bill. This works out your bill based on how many people live in your house, the number of bedrooms and the type of property you live in. 

Wash your car smartly: Try making use of a bucket or a water can instead of a water hose to save yourself around 100 litres of water. 

Oojal Dhanjal

Oojal has a background in consumer journalism and is interested in helping people make the most of their money.
Before joining MoneyWeek, she worked for Look After My Bills, a personal finance website where she covered guides on household bills and money-saving deals.
Her bylines can be found on Newsquest, Voice Wales, DIVA and Sony Music and she has explored subjects ranging from luxury real estate to the cost of living, politics and LGBTQIA+ issues.
Outside of work, Oojal enjoys travelling, going to the movies and learning Spanish with a little green owl.