Water bills explained - what are you paying for?
Do you really know what all those numbers on your water bill mean? Metered or unmetered, waste water charge or none, what are you paying for?
With or without a water meter…
If you don’t have a meter, then you’ll be billed a charge that’s based on the rateable value of your home. This is why some people call their water bill charges, ‘water rates’. If you do have a meter, then your bill will show a volumetric charge. That’s a bill for the amount of water you’ve actually used. Usage is measured in cubic metres (m3). 1m3 is the same as 1,000 litres. It’s worth remembering that, if your meter hasn’t been read since your last bill, then your usage may be estimated.
Both types of water services
Whether you have a meter or not, you will always pay a standing charge. For non-metered customers this charge covers the cost of billing, distribution and customer services. Or in other words, you’re paying to help the water company get water into your home, to read the meter (if you have one), and to maintain the network of pipes around the country.
You will also pay a charge for ‘waste water’. This covers the cost of sewage treatment (the water you flush away), surface water that runs off your property, and water that’s collected from roads and pavements. The cost of sewage treatment is based on how much water you use – the amount of sewage you produce isn’t measured.
And if you have a septic tank
If your sewage goes into a septic tank then it’s possible that you won’t have to pay the ‘waste water’ part of the charge (unless the water company empties your tank).
If the surface water from your property goes into water butts or a soakaway then you either won’t pay the waste water charge, or you’ll receive a rebate. Check your bill to make sure you’re not paying the charges if you don’t need to (or are if you should).
If you’re a metered customer, then you can see how much water you’re using. If you think it’s too much check out our water saving tips to reduce your consumption.
Believe it or not, an average family of four uses about 450 litres of water a day. If your household’s consumption is a lot higher than that, ask your water company to check for leaks in the pipe that supplies your property. In many areas of the country you can get a refund for water that has leaked outside your property…