This advice applies to Scotland. Change country
Paying for water and sewerage in Scotland
Who supplies your water
Most households in Scotland are provided with water from the public supply by Scottish Water.
You may have a private source and therefore a private water supply.
Your water may be supplied by someone else, for example if you live permanently in a mobile home.
If you have a private water supply you do not have to pay Scottish Water for it but there are some rules you must follow.
Paying for water from the public supply
Non-metered water supply
If your home is connected to the public water supply and you do not have a water meter, you will pay for your water with your council tax. When you receive your council tax bill for the year it will state the additional amount that is being charged for water, depending on which council tax band your home is in. It is collected by your local authority and passed on to Scottish Water.
Metered water supply
If your home is connected to the public water supply and you have a water meter, you will pay Scottish Water directly. They will send you a bill.
Exemption from council tax but not water charges under a metered supply
If you are exempt from paying the council tax, for example, because of severe mental impairment, you are unlikely to also be exempt from paying metered water charges. If you wish to make sure you are exempt from the water charges calculated by a water meter you would have to negotiate with Scottish Water to revert to ordinary non-metered charging for water.
Who provides sewerage services
Scottish Water provides public sewerage services to domestic households in Scotland unless there is a private septic tank, or you are a mobile home resident. If you have a private septic tank you do not have to pay Scottish Water for it, but there are some rules you must follow.
Paying for using the public sewerage system
When you are connected to the public sewerage system (and most people are where they live) you pay for using it as an additional amount with your council tax, depending on which council tax band your home is in. It is collected by your local authority and passed on to Scottish Water. When you receive your council tax bill for the year it will state how much is being charged for the sewerage.
Is the amount billed for using public water and sewerage correct
If your council tax bill includes an additional amount for water and/or sewerage charges, this must be shown on the bill.
If you are told that you owe arrears of water and/or sewerage as part of your council tax, you should check first if the bill is correct, and if you are entitled to any help with paying for water and sewerage.
Charges for water and sewerage on mobile home sites
If you live permanently in a mobile home, the site may charge you for providing water and sewerage services. You shouldn't also have charges on your council tax bill from Scottish Water. From 1 May 2017, there is a new licensing system for mobile home sites with permanent residents. Your local authority can check that the site owner or manager is a 'fit and proper' person to run the site. The site must keep to the rules about the charges that can be passed on to residents for water and sewerage.
If you live permanently on a mobile home site, and you think you are being overcharged for water and sewerage, you can contact your local authority. You could consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.
Help with paying for public water and sewerage charges
Single person's discount
If you are entitled to a single person's discount on your council tax it will also be applied automatically to the water and sewerage charges on your council tax bill too.
Council Tax Reduction and water and sewerage charges
If you get Council Tax Reduction (CTR) you should also get up to a maximum of 25% reduction on your public water and sewerage charges on your council tax bill if you are not getting any other discount.
The amount of reduction on your bill depends on the amount of CTR you get. The local authority should apply this automatically to your bill. This rule also applied to council tax benefit from 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2013.
Example:- If you get 50% Council Tax Reduction you will have 50% applied to your water and sewerage charges but only up to the maximum of the possible 25% reduction. This means you will get 25% reduction on the water and sewerage charges.
See the leaflet Council tax benefits and water and sewerage services [ 0.68 mb] for more information.
Arrears of water and sewerage charges
When you have arrears of water and sewerage charges there is a number of ways these might be collected from you.
There is more information about charging for domestic water on the Scottish Government’s website at www.gov.scot.