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WaterSure scheme – help with paying water bills

This advice applies to England

WaterSure is a scheme which helps some people with their water bills. To apply for the scheme, you must be on benefits and need to use a lot of water either for medical reasons or because your household has a certain number of school-age children. You also need to be on a water meter or be waiting to have one installed.

If you get your water from Welsh Water you’re covered by WaterSure Wales, which works in a similar way to the English scheme.

If you get help through the WaterSure scheme, your water bill will be capped. This means you will not pay any more than the average metered bill for the area your water company deals with.

In some cases, your normal metered water bill could be less than your company's WaterSure cap. If this applies to you, you will only be billed for the amount of water you use.

You can ask your water company what their cap is if you want to check this before applying.

Who qualifies for WaterSure

To qualify for WaterSure you need to:

  • be on a water meter or have applied for one and be waiting for it to be installed, or be paying an assessed charge because it's not possible to fit a meter at your property  
  • be on certain benefits
  • have a high essential use of water.

Which benefits you need to be on

The benefits you need to be on depends on your supplier. You should check which benefits they cover.

All suppliers offer WaterSure if either you or someone in your household get one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income Support
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit awarded at a rate higher than the family element.

Some water suppliers also offer WaterSure if you're on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments. You should check with your water company if you're not sure if they cover these benefits.

To find out more about these benefits, see our Benefits pages.

What's meant by high essential use of water

If your household has a high essential use of water this means:

  • someone in the household has a medical condition for which they need to use a lot of water, or
  • you have three children or more under 19 and in full-time education living in your household.

The person with the medical condition or the children under 19 must use the property as their main home.

People who have one of the following medical conditions will automatically qualify for WaterSure, as long as they meet all the other qualifying conditions:

  • desquamation (flaky skin disease)
  • weeping skin disease (eczema, psoriasis or varicose ulceration)
  • incontinence
  • abdominal stomas
  • renal failure requiring dialysis at home  - although you won't qualify for WaterSure if you're already getting a contribution to your water costs from the NHS
  • Crohn's disease
  • ulcerative colitis.

You can also apply for WaterSure if there is someone in your household who has another medical condition which means using higher than average amounts of water. Water companies will ask for details from a doctor.

You can’t apply for WaterSure if the high use of water in your household is because of things like:

  • watering a garden using something other than a watering can or sprinkler – for example a hose
  • refilling a pond or swimming pool with a capacity of more than 10,000 litres.

How to apply for WaterSure

You can apply for WaterSure by filling out a form from your water company. You will need to supply evidence that you qualify, such as a copy of your awards notice for a benefit.

You'll need to provide evidence of your medical condition from your doctor, including how the condition is treated and the effect it has on how much water you use.

Some companies will accept a stamp from your GP confirming your medical condition. There is space on the end of the form for a stamp, which the GP will usually give free of charge. You should check your supplier will accept a stamp before sending your application.

If your water supplier won't accept a stamp, you'll need to pay for a doctor's certificate. Some water suppliers will reimburse the cost of the certificate.

When you will start getting help

If you qualify for WaterSure, you will start getting help from the start of the billing period during which you first applied.

If your water and sewerage services are provided by different companies, the water company should tell the sewerage company that you're getting help. The sewerage company should then adjust their charges.

You may have to reapply or show evidence that you still qualify for help each year. Your water company will let you know if and when you need to do this.

If you think you aren’t entitled to help anymore

If you don’t think you're entitled to help from WaterSure anymore, let your water company know.  Your help will stop at the end of the current billing period.

Next steps

Other useful information

  • The Consumer Council for Water (ccwater) has a flowchart to help you work out whether you can apply to the WaterSure scheme. Go to www.ccwater.org.uk .
  • To find out which water company supplies your area, go to  the Consumer Council for Water's website at: www.ccwater.org.uk.
  • For more help with water issues, go to the Consumer Council for Water's website at: www.ccwater.org.uk.
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