Water usage guide

Understand why your usage and bill may have increased, and how much water the average metered household uses.

Please use these figures as a guide only – the amount of water you use will vary depending on your circumstances. 

One cubic metre = 1,000 litres. This is approximately equivalent to 11 baths.

Small changes to your routine could save you money on your bill. Swapping a daily bath for a shower can save up to £50 a year.

Discover more water saving tips

Is your bill higher than usual?
If your bill has gone up, this is unlikely to be due to an increase in water prices. The price of water is set by Ofwat and is reviewed every five years. The current price is set for 2020–25.

To understand why your bill has increased, consider whether the following has affected you:

Are you at home more than usual?

Have you had any lifestyle changes that mean you’re spending more time at home than usual? For example, working from home, taking extended time off, being newly retired or staying home to care for someone in your household. This change will likely increase your water usage and bill.

During COVID-19 lockdown, there has been a general 20% increase in water usage.

This may be because:

  • you’re flushing the toilet more
  • you’re not showering at work or in the gym
  • you’re washing more dishes at home
  • the kids are also at home during the day, rather than at school, adding to increased usage

Have you started a new activity or got a new appliance?

Some seasonal activities use a lot of water, such as:

  • gardening, e.g. using a hose or sprinkler to water your plants
  • filling a paddling pool
  • using a hot tub.

Did you know?

  • Filling up a paddling pool could use up to 3,000 litres, which is the equivalent to 7,500 cups of tea!
  • Avoiding using sprinklers/hosepipes can save £300 year.
  • Using a hose with a trigger gun can save £210 per year.
  • Dripping taps can waste 5,500 litres a year. Fixing this could save you £7 a year. 


Has your household increased in size?

More people living in your home will increase the rate of water use. For example:

  • Guests staying over means more hand washes, showers and toilet trips.
  • A newborn – a baby requires constant washing of clothes and bibs and sterilising etc.
  • Students back from university – young people need privacy and the bathroom is often the only place they can get it. Just ensure they turn the water off when it’s not in use.

For further detail on the average cost for different sizes of household, please see the table below.

Do you live in a student house?

You and your housemates are likely to live independent lifestyles within a household – for example, doing separate clothes washes.

This type of routine increases the amount of water used and will likely lead to higher bills than a family household

Have you had building work or DIY done?

Building work and DIY can use a lot of water – e.g. activities like concreting, washing down areas, cleaning brushes and bleeding radiators.

Faulty plumbing, dripping tap or a water leak

If you think you may have a leak in your home follow these steps to help you find a leak and repair or report a leak.

A dripping tap can waste 15 litres a day or 5,500 litres a year, which is the equivalent of a bathtub of water a week. You can learn how to fix a dripping tap – in most cases, you simply need to change the washer which could save you £7 a year.

Push-button toilets commonly have undetected leaks. A leaky loo can waste up to 400 litres of water a day – fixing it can save you approximately £500 a year on your bills. So it can pay to know if your loo is leaking. Do you have a leaky loo?

Why is my bill higher than my neighbour’s?
This may be due to one of the following:

  • You may have a different tariff.
  • Credit – they may have credit on their account and have had their payments lowered to account for this.
  • Different size household – they may have fewer people living in or visiting the house, leading to a lower rate of consumption.
  • Different routines – everyone has different ways of living and your neighbour’s activities may use less water, e.g. taking a quick shower rather than a bath.
  • Water-saving products – they may have invested in water-saving products to lower their usage and bill. Book a free water saving visit or request a save a flush bag.


The table below reflects average water and wastewater usage, and cost per year
Based on our charges for April 2019 to March 2020.

You can monitor your own water use by reading your meter, which can also help you identify leaks at your property.

Number of people in property 1 2 3 4 5 6
Estimated use per year (cubic metres) 65 100 135 160 180 200
Estimated use (litres per day) 178 274 370 438 493 548
Wastewater (cubic metres) 60 92 124 148 166 185
Water and wastewater
Average cost per year* £286 £401 £516 £597 £663 £728
Monthly instalments £23 £33 £43 £49 £55 £60
Water only
Average cost per year* £113 £162 £212 £248 £277 £305
Monthly instalments £9 £13 £17 £20 £23 £25
Wastewater only
Average cost per year* £173 £238 £303 £349 £386 £423
Monthly instalments £14 £19 £25 £29 £32 £35

* Average cost per year may vary for individual households for the reasons above

Has your bill gone up?

While everyone’s been at home more, we’ve all been using more water – so your bill may have gone up. Using less water could reduce your costs.
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