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Water affordability study shows cost benefits

TapWater bill payers across England could benefit from the findings of a two-year water affordability study in the south west.

The pilot programme, commissioned by Defra, looked at the combined effect on low income households of benefit entitlement checks, water efficiency measures, and water metering in helping customers afford their water bills.

Reports published by Defra today show that:

  • overall, the pilot programme was cost beneficial, with savings of over 10 times the cost of providing the service;
  • the largest gains were made as a result of benefit entitlement checks, and from unmeasured households switching to a metered tariff; and
  • the programme was most successful in helping those households which spend more than 3% of disposable income on water and sewerage bills.

The Government is currently developing a national water strategy which will take a joined up approach to tackling the pressures on the water environment presented by changes in climate, demand, development, and population growth. Water affordability, charging, and tariffs will be part of the strategy, which is to be published early in the new year. 

Further information

Page published: 20 December 2007

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs