A: Today, Friday 22 March 2013, is World Water Day, so there’s no better day to look at how you can save water and save yourself money at the same time.
Unfortunately, you don’t have the ability to swap suppliers for your water and save money that way, but there are other ways you can reduce your water bills.
If you have more rooms in the house than you have people living in it, you’ll probably save quite a lot by having a meter fitted and only paying for the water you use rather than the water your size property is estimated to use. (In Scotland, however, it is very expensive to have a meter fitted and is probably best avoided).
If you do have a meter, there are lots of ways to minimise your water use: have short, four-minute showers rather than baths; only run a washing machine or dishwasher when it is full or use the half load settings; minimise hose pipe use; and turn off taps when brushing your teeth. You can also pick up lots of free money-saving devices on the useful website Save Water, Save Money, such as save-a-flush bags and water-efficient shower heads. The other great thing about a meter is if, after a year, you find your bills haven’t reduced, you can have it taken away.
If you’re unable to have a meter fitted (for example, if you live in a block of flats with a shared water system), then you could apply for an assessed charge bill, which can be significantly lower than the normal rated bills.
You can also make small savings on your bill if you have a soakaway (large underground pit of gravel) on your property that allows surface rainwater to drain into it rather than the local sewer. If you inform your local water company you have one, you could be entitled to a refund from last year’s bill and a permanent reduction in your bill of up to £40.
If any of these tips help you save money, how about making a donation to Water Aid, an incredible charity who are dedicated to providing safe domestic water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people? You can donate at wateraid.org/uk.
Andrea Ventress, money expert
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