Water bills: Why UK households will be hit by biggest increase for nearly 20 years on 1 April

The annual bill for the average household in England and Wales will reach £448 - £31 more than last year

·3-min read
A generic view of a household water tap as water and sewerage bills are to rise by around £20 from April, regulator Ofwat has said.   (Photo by Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images)
Water bills are set to rise from 1 April. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Water bills are set to surge from 1 April with their biggest increase for almost 20 years.

The annual bill for the average household in England and Wales will reach £448 – which is £31 more than last year.

It means customers will pay 7.5% more than last year on their water bills, the biggest annual increase since 2005/06.

The hike is not the only one scheduled for 1 April, with energy bills, council tax and broadband all becoming more expensive from tomorrow, as the nation continues to grapple with the cost of living crisis.

Water UK, which represents UK water companies, said the increase will help fund investment into water and sewage systems.

Watch: Minister believes energy bills will come down from June

It said about £70bn will be spent on "transforming rivers and building new reservoirs" in the coming years. Water UK insisted the rise was below inflation, but campaigners say that is little comfort to households forced to pay more money for their water.

Inflation, the rate at which the price of goods increase, was at 10.4% for February, up from 10.1% in January.

Water UK also said the increase in bills was because of higher energy costs, as water firms use about 2% of the country's electricity.

"Water companies are acutely aware of the impact of price rises on lower income and vulnerable customers," the company said.

"That is why companies have recently increased the level of support they offer by more than £200m, which will help hundreds of thousands more households."

Read: Why millions of low-paid workers will get a pay rise on 1 April

File photo dated 03/02/22 of an online energy bill, as Scots are paying an
Energy bills are set to increase as the cost of living crisis continues. (PA)

It said the average bill increase worked out at about 60p extra a week.

But water bills are just one area of concern for UK households at the beginning of April.

Saturday will also see an increase in energy bills, as a £400 support scheme ends and standing charges increase.

Millions of people will also face a council tax hike of 5% from 1 April, after the government raised the amount local authorities can increase the rate without holding a referendum.

The Treasury expects 95% of councils to increase the tax by 5%.

Campaigners say the water bills increase are part of a "postcode lottery" – the provider Thames Water, for instance, will put its charges up by 11.6% from 1 April, well above the Water UK average.

A Thames Water van is seen from an elevated perspective, while stopped at traffic lights in south London, on 31st January 2022, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Thames Water is one of the water companies putting up bills. (Getty Images)

Emma Clancy, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), said: “Water is essential for all of us so no one should be worried about being able to afford their bill.

"These increases will bring more uncertainty to struggling households at a time when they can’t be certain they will get the help they need.

“Low income households need immediate relief and the long-term security of knowing their water bill will be affordable.

“It’s not fair that struggling households face a postcode lottery when it comes to getting help with their bill – that’s why we urgently need a new water affordability scheme that provides consistent support based on people’s needs.”

Water UK said anyone who needs support with their bills should visit www.supportontap.org for more information.

Watch: Sir Keir Starmer says Labour would freeze council tax bills this year