Little-known scheme can save you £100s on water bills

Homeowners can check if they are eligible for a discounted water bill via WaterSure, a scheme that helps some people with their water bills.

To qualify, you must be on benefits and need to use a lot of water either for medical reasons or because your household has a certain number of school-age children. You also need to be on a water meter or be waiting to have one installed.

If you get help through the WaterSure scheme, your water bill will be capped. This means you will not pay any more than the average metered bill for the area your water company deals with. In some cases, your normal metered water bill could be less than your company's WaterSure cap. If this applies to you, you will only be billed for the amount of water you use.

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You can ask your water company what its cap is if you want to check this before applying. If you get your water from Welsh Water you’re covered by WaterSure Wales, which works in a similar way to the English scheme.

Who qualifies for WaterSure?

To qualify for WaterSure you need to:

  • be on a water meter or have applied for one and be waiting for it to be installed, or be paying an assessed charge because it's not possible to fit a meter at your property

  • be on certain benefits

  • have a high essential use of water

The benefits you need to be on depends on your supplier. You should check which benefits they cover.

All suppliers offer WaterSure if either you or someone in your household get one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit

  • Pension Credit

  • Housing Benefit

  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Income Support

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Working Tax Credit

  • Child Tax Credit awarded at a rate higher than the family element

Some water suppliers also offer WaterSure if you're on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments. You should check with your water company if you're not sure if they cover these benefits.

What does 'high essential use of water' mean?

If your household has a high essential use of water this means:

  • someone in the household has a medical condition for which they need to use a lot of water, or

  • you have three children or more under 19 and in full-time education living in your household.

The person with the medical condition or the children under 19 must use the property as their main home.

People who have one of the following medical conditions will automatically qualify for WaterSure, as long as they meet all the other qualifying conditions:

  • desquamation (flaky skin disease)

  • weeping skin disease (eczema, psoriasis or varicose ulceration)

  • incontinence

  • abdominal stomas

  • renal failure requiring dialysis at home - although you won't qualify for WaterSure if you're already getting a contribution to your water costs from the NHS

  • Crohn's disease

  • ulcerative colitis

You can also apply for WaterSure if there is someone in your household who has another medical condition which means using higher than average amounts of water. Water companies will ask for details from a doctor.

You can’t apply for WaterSure if the high use of water in your household is because of things like:

  • watering a garden using something other than a watering can or sprinkler – for example a hose

  • refilling a pond or swimming pool with a capacity of more than 10,000 litres

How to apply for WaterSure

To apply for WaterSure, you need to fill out a form from your water company. You'll need to supply evidence that you qualify, such as a copy of your awards notice for a benefit or evidence of your medical condition from your doctor, including how the condition is treated and the effect it has on how much water you use.

Some companies will accept a stamp from your GP confirming your medical condition. There is space on the end of the form for a stamp, which the GP will usually give free of charge. You should check your supplier will accept a stamp before sending your application.

If your water supplier won't accept a stamp, you'll need to pay for a doctor's certificate. Some water suppliers will reimburse the cost of the certificate.