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UK water companies reveal £14.4 bn plan for 2024-25 after a decade of bills falling in real terms

  • UK water companies reveal £14.4 bn plan for 2024-25 after decade of bills falling in real terms
  • Water companies will invest a record £14.4 billion – the highest amount ever in a single year - to help ensure the security of our water supply in the future and significantly reduce the amount of sewage in rivers and seas.
  • Companies will also increase support for low-income households to its highest level ever. More than 2 million households now receive help with their water bills.
  • Customers have seen their bills fall in real terms over the last decade, with average bills to increase by around £2 a month from April 2024. 

About the entity

Water UK
Water UK is a membership organisation which represents and works with the major water and wastewater service providers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Water companies in England and Wales will invest more than £14.4 billion (more than $18 billion) in 2024- 25 - the highest annual investment on record. This will help guarantee a stable supply of clean water, even as our climate changes, and cleaner rivers and seas for people to enjoy.

The investment will help build 10 new reservoirs, increase the capacity of dozens of wastewater treatment works - meaning more capacity to treat sewage than ever before - and see more than 2,000 kilometres of pipes repaired and replaced.

At the same time a record 2 million households are now receiving some sort of financial support with their bills – nearly double the number last year – with over £1 billion of support provided to customers since 2020. This includes reduced tariffs, payment breaks and debt forgiveness. Customers are encouraged to contact their water company directly to see what help is available if they are concerned.

Targeted support is also available for low-income customers who use a lot of water for essential family or health reasons through the WaterSure scheme. And, more broadly, a wide range of assistance (not just financial) is available through the Priority Services Register for a wide range of people, from those with sight, hearing, or mobility difficulties, to parents with babies under 12 months old.

Despite the record investment, bills are rising less than they did in the previous financial year, with customers seeing their bills increase by around £2 a month (6%). But compared to the high levels of inflation seen in recent years, this represents a real terms fall of around 15% over the last decade. If water bills had kept pace with inflation since 2014-15, they would be around £60 higher today.

Customers will pay £1.29 a day for sewerage services and world-class drinking water. Full details about the new average bills can be found here. 

David Henderson, Water UK Chief Executive, said:

“Next year will see record levels of investment from water companies to secure the security of our water supply in the future and significantly reduce the amount of sewage in rivers and seas.

“Up and down the country customers will see the results of this investment with more than 2,000 kilometres of pipes being repaired or replaced and more capacity to treat sewage than ever before.

“At the same time support for customers is doubling with more than 2 million families now being with helped with their bills. Anyone with worries should contact their water company and, it is worth remembering, water companies will never cut anyone off or make them use a prepayment meter.” 

Examples of what the 2024-25 investment by water companies will deliver include: 

  • The 25 km Tideway super sewer will begin its testing phase – diverting storm flows away from the River Thames for the first time and will be fully operational later in 2025. Once finished, sewage pollution into the River Thames will be reduced by 95%. 
  • Work to begin on the Havant Thicket reservoir in Hampshire. The reservoir, a joint project between Portsmouth Water and Southern Water, will be the first reservoir to be built in the UK in more than 30 years. 
  • United Utilities will start work on replacing large parts of the 110km Haweswater Aqueduct which has successfully served 2.5 million people in Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester for sixty years. 
  • Severn Trent is delivering large-scale projects including a £25 million project to install a new sewer system in Stroud, and the £76 million flood alleviation scheme in Mansfield, including installation of sustainable drainage 
  • South East Water will complete construction of a brand new £39 million water treatment works in March 2025 which will provide new water resources in the heart of Kent, strengthening resilience. 
  • South West Water is progressing plans to bring desalination to Cornwall as part of its £125 million investment to increase water resources available in Cornwall by around 45%, and in Devon by around 30%.  
  • Welsh Water is investing over £12 million near Pontypool to help reduce the number of spills and boost the water quality in the nearby River Usk and Afon Lwyd. The site is the first of its kind in Wales, and involves the creation of reed beds, wetlands, footpaths, environmental enhancements and educational areas, providing socio-environmental benefits for the community.

The funds raised by increased water bills are guaranteed only to fund improvements in our water and sewerage systems – and if these improvements aren’t delivered bills will automatically be reduced by the regulator.

Increased bills are only allowed where they pay for investment in things that are genuinely new and genuinely needed, like meeting targets for our water and sewerage system. 

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