Ofwat, the water regulator for England and Wales, today approved the prices which water companies can charge customers across the next five years. 

Water bills are increasing for virtually all customers, on average by 21% and in some cases by a whopping 44%. 

In this article we explain how much prices are increasing, how prices are decided, where the money goes and what consumers and businesses can do to keep a lid on water costs.

When are prices rising?

Water bills have been increasing for some time, but the new price rises take effect from April 2025. They are set to increase steadily until the next price review in 2030. 

How much will my water bill go up?

It depends on where you live, who supplies your water, and – if you’re metered – how much water you use. 

This table shows the price changes for each water and wastewater company in England and Wales based on data released by Ofwat.

Company2024-25 (£)2029-30 (£)Change,
2029-30 vs 2024-25 (£)
% increase
Anglian Water4915576613
Dŵr Cymru46660313729
Hafren Dyfrdwy39652412832
Northumbrian Water4154604511
Severn Trent Water4034969323
Southern Water42060318344
South West Water4975616413
Thames Water4365359923
United Utilities4425369421
Wessex Water508497-12-2
Yorkshire Water43053710725
Affinity Water192203116
Portsmouth Water1141352118
South East Water230248188
South Staffs Water1611832214
SES Water221187-34-15

I run a business, does this affect me too?

Yes, as a business you have to pay for any water your business uses, and for the drainage of water and effluent (liquid waste) from your premises. We have put together an analysis of expected additional costs business will pay for water.

Who decided this price increase?

As part of something called PR24 (Price Review 2024), the water companies submitted their business plans for 2025-2030 to Ofwat, which regulates the water industry in England and Wales. Ofwat reviewed these plans to ensure they offered what it deemed to be the best service and price deal for consumers. Water services are publicly owned in Northern Ireland and Scotland and there are different regulators there.

How will the money be spent?

The water companies are proposing to spend £88 billion between 2025 and 2030 on securing water supplies against drought, ensuring we maintain high quality drinking water and reducing sewage entering rivers and seas. This would be one of the largest investments ever made by the water industry, according to Water UK. The water companies also hope to make a profit that can be returned to their shareholders. Ofwat set a limit on the total amount of revenue that each water company can recover from its customers in their bills.

How can I reduce my water bill?

You can take steps to reduce your water usage, which will reduce your bill if you are one of the 60% of UK households that are metered. If you use less, you’ll pay less. 

We have provided tips on reducing your water usage. If you are a business, then we have provided specific tips on how to reduce your water usage in your business.

One of the most important steps households and businesses can take is to prevent unnecessary water leaks.

What if I can’t afford my bill?

There are schemes available for those who can’t afford to pay their bill. Citizen’s Advice has useful information for how those on low incomes can access hundreds of pounds of savings through the WaterSure scheme. It is worth checking if you’re eligible, especially given that the Consumer Council for Water says almost 2 million customers may still not be getting the help they are entitled to.

Can I switch my water supplier to get a cheaper tariff?

Under current legislation, household customers are not able to change their water supplier or sewerage service provider. However, most non-household properties in England and Scotland can switch to a new water supplier. This includes businesses, schools, NHS trusts and local authorities. 

What else can be done to reduce bills?

In the longer term, we all need to get far smarter about how we manage our precious water resources. 

A failure to do this will not just mean bills continue to rise, but we could also face a more serious water scarcity crisis. It’s estimated that new water supplies equivalent to the consumption of the entire population of London will be needed in England alone by the mid 2030s

Tackling water efficiency should begin with tackling leaks. Currently, we are literally tipping one of our most precious resources down the drain. 30% of the 3 billion litres of drinking water lost each day to leaks in England and Wales happens in people’s homes and businesses. That is the equivalent of willfully draining London’s largest reservoir every month. 

Ofwat’s water efficiency fund could be a step in the right direction and we have explained how this can be improved. But at Watergate, we also believe the government should go much further, for example by mandating that all new build properties are fitted with a leak detector.