When it comes to water, your options are more limited than other utilities like gas and electricity. You cannot choose your supplier, so you cannot switch if you feel like you are getting a bad deal.
If you want to save money it is in your own hands, here are 5 easy ways to get started:
1. Get a water meter
You are not guaranteed to save money, but switching to a water meter is definitely worth considering.
If you are on an unmetered supply you will pay a fixed rate for water no matter how much you use. This can be great if you have a full house, as you can use lots of water without worrying about the cost, but if you live alone or as a couple a water meter could save you hundreds of pounds.
Our guide, The Simple Way to Save £100s on Your Water Bill has more information on water meters to help you decide if they could save you money.
2. Try water saving gadgets
If you already have a water meter then there are plenty of gadgets that can help you save water, and in turn money on your bill.
Showerheads control the flow of water and determine the spray pattern of your shower. They come in all shapes and sizes and there are water saving models available. Water efficient showerheads are designed to produce a powerful shower, without using a huge amount of water.
You should see an improvement in your water usage, but the quality of your shower may be compromised, depending on the model you get.
Dual flush toilet
Dual flush toilets have two flush options: a small flush designed for liquids which uses 4 litres per flush, and a big flush for solids which uses the full 6 litres per flush.
Toilets are not designed to be replaced often, and if you have an older toilet it could use as much 13 litres per flush! This is a lot of water, so upgrading to a newer, dual flush toilet could be a cost effective option.
Look for toilets that have been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency's
WaterSense program which have been tested for performance (so you know they can do the job!) and water saving.
Cistern Displacement Devices
A more modern version of the old 'brick in the cistern' trick, cistern displacement devices do essentially the same thing. Displacing water means that you will use less water per flush, which is especially good if you have an older, thirsty toilet!
You can usually get these free from your water supplier; if you are supplied by Affinity Water for example you can order Save a Flush, which is a bag of crystals that sits at the bottom of your toilet cistern and will swell up 6 hours after installation. This can save 1 litre for every flush!
Do not cut corners and drop a brick in your cistern though as they can dissolve and leave behind sediment that can block your tank.
Other free gadgets
Water Widgets can be installed that entrain air into the shower flow and save up to 11,000 litres a year. Tap Aerators can be installed to regulate the flow rate to 5 litres per minute, which could save you as much as 6,500 litres a year.
Four Minute Shower Timer is a simple but effective gadget; a waterproof egg timer with a suction cup so you can stick it your shower. Just flip it over when you get in and make sure your out before the sand runs through, to take a more efficient shower and save water!
To have a look and see what you could be entitled to have a look at the Save Water Save Money website and follow the link to your water supplier.
3. Change your habits
Some of the best and most effective ways you can save water is by making changes to the way you use water day to day.
Have a shower instead of a bath
The average bath uses 80 litres, where as a quick 5 minute shower only uses 35 litres.
If you can try to shower over taking a bath, and do not spend too long in there (this is where the Four Minute Shower Timer could help!) then you will save buckets.
Leaving the tap running while you brush your teeth is a habit that is easy to fall into. By turning off the tap while you brush you could save as much as 3.5 litres of water. If you use a glass to hold a small amount of water to rinse your mouth you could save a further 4 litres.
Put the plug in when you wash your hands and face and you could save 2 litres compared to leaving the tap running.
If you are lucky enough to own a dishwasher then one simple thing you can do is ensure that you have a full load before you turn it on. A dishwasher with one fork in it will use the same water as a machine fully loaded!
Use the economy setting if your machine has one as it will use on average 3 litres less water. Pre-rinsing should not be necessary with modern machines so try to avoid this if you can.
If you do not have a dishwasher then try to use a washing up bowl rather than leaving the taps running whilst you wash up your dishes, this can save around 5 litres of water. If possible try to wait until you have enough dirty dishes to fill your bowl to be as efficient as possible.
Like dishwashers, it is also worth getting the most out of each load if you can. Be careful, as an over-loaded washing machine can cause damage, or prevent it from completing its cycle, so it is worth checking the capacity of your drum before you fill it.
Most washing machines have short cycles that use much less water and should do the job - unless you have heavily soiled items to wash.
If you are buying a new washing machine again check the water efficiency. The best models will typically use less than 7.5 litres per kg.
4. Fix all leaks
A leak in your bathroom or kitchen can have a devastating effect on your water consumption but a common problem that can go unnoticed is a leaking toilet as the water trickles down the back of the bowl.
A continuously running toilet can waste as much as 60,000 litres of water per year, so it is worth making sure you have a leak free loo!
Just place a few drops of food dye into your cistern, do not flush for 10-15 minutes, and if the dye has seeped down the bowl after this time then you know you have a leak! At this point the best thing to do is contact a licensed plumber to fix this for you.
If you notice any other leaks around the house, like a dripping tap, then get it sorted sooner rather than later. The cost of a plumber may be higher, but it will mean lower water bills in the future.
5. Efficient gardening
If you have a big garden with a lovely green lawn and beds of colourful plants then chances are you use a lot of water keeping it that way. There are ways, however, to keep your garden looking top notch whilst being water efficient.
Sprinklers can use up to 1000 litres per hour, that is more than the average family of four use in a whole day! If you do need to use a sprinkler try to have it on in the early morning or late afternoon, when evaporation rates are lowest.
If you use a hosepipe then think about attaching a trigger nozzle to limit the amount of water you use, and help you aim it to where it needs to go.
Water butts are a fantastic way of collecting rain water to use on your garden. This is essentially free water that, depending on the size of your garden, could provide you with all the water you need to keep you garden looking healthy.
If you do not have a water butt you could use bathwater on your garden. Do not forget that this is dirty water and should not be used on fruit or veg.