Five Questions About: Compulsory water meters

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The Independent Online

Are water meters going to be compulsory?

The Government is considering compulsory water metering to ensure households pay for what they use. A proposal will be revealed next month and could include suggestions designed to drive a massive uptake in water meters. Currently, 40 per cent of UK homes are fitted with the meters; the report called for this to rise to at least 80 per cent by 2020.

Isn't water free?

While it may seem as though the water in your taps is free, this isn't the case. Homes without meters pay a fixed amount based on their property's size and value, as well as the average usage in the area. How much you pay will be included in your council tax bill: check the section titled "Water and waste water" to see how much you're paying.

Are the potential changes fair?

Hose-wielding gardeners and high consumers won't be too keen as they could end up with a higher annual bill, but many other households will benefit from meters, especially those with just one occupant.

More and more people are cutting back on their water usage for environmental reasons, but they need to have a meter if they want to see a financial reward for their efforts.

How much could I save with a meter?

According to the government campaign Act On CO2, the average family uses about 500 litres of water a day. If a family of four were to use 20 litres less each every day, they would save around £75 a year in total. By heating less water they could reduce their energy bills too. The Consumer Council for Water has a calculator to show you the potential savings.

Can I get a meter now?

In England and Wales, households can ask their water company to fit a meter free, although homes in Scotland may be asked to foot the cost. Unless it's prohibitively expensive or impractical, your company should fit your meter within three months or adjust your bill to reflect your potential savings.

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