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Last updated: 13 Oct 2023

High water bills

Information about higher than expected water bills for residential customers.

Ii water bill

Important: If you need help paying a bill, call your water company to set up a payment plan before your water supply is restricted.

High water billing can happen for a number of reasons. Common causes include:

Parks charge

This fee is charged quarterly behalf of the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, and should appear on your bill each quarter.

Estimated bills

Water companies may issue an estimated bill if they cannot access your meter – see our Estimated Bills fact sheet ( for more information. Estimations are based on your past levels of usage, and sometimes over – or under – estimate how much you’ve actually used in the current billing period.

Outstanding charges

Does your current bill include any unpaid amounts from the previous bill?

Price increases

Compare the rates on your current bill with previous bills. Have they increased?

A longer billing period

If the bill period is longer than your previous bill, that may account for the higher billing.

Water consumption

Have you used more water than usual? Compare the average daily use figure on your current bill with previous bills to see if it has increased.

Things to consider:

  • Have you spent more time at home?
  • Have you had guests staying over?
  • Have you been watering the garden often?
  • Have you checked your appliance water usage?
  • Have you checked for any water leaks?

You can use your water meter to check for a leak. If you detect a leak, contact your water company for advice.

How to check:

  1. Turn off all taps and water outlets.
  2. Take a reading of your meter dial.
  3. Wait for an hour, then take another reading – make sure you don’t use any water during this time.
  4. There should be no difference in meter readings. If there is, there may be a leak.

Have you received a new water meter? Old meters may record less than the actual consumption.

You can test the accuracy of your meter with a volume test.

How to check:

  1. Ensure there are no water leaks.
  2. Turn off all taps and water outlets.
  3. Take a reading of your meter dial.
  4. Use an accurate 10-litre bucket and fill it with water from a tap.
  5. Take another meter reading, which should show that 10 litres were used.

How to read your water meter

high water bills meters

Analogue meter 1

The black numbers on the white background measure kilolitres. The white numbers on the red background measure litres.

Starting from left to right, the digits measure hundreds of litres and tens of litres, up to litres and tenths of a litre.

Please note: some meters only measure to tens of litres.

High water bills water meter dial

Analogue meter 2

The number at the top of the meter measures in kilolitres. The dials from right to left measure hundreds of litres, tens of litres, litres and tenths of a litre.

If a hand is between two numbers, note the lower number, except between 0 and 9, then note 9.

Next steps

If you have considered all of the above and think your bill is wrong, contact your water company and ask them to check your bill.

If you aren’t happy with their response, contact EWOV.

EWOV and high water bills

Through our investigation we will seek to determine whether your water company has contributed to the cause of the high bill. We can’t always find the cause of a high bill – but we can check that your meter is correctly recording your use and that your bill matches the information from your meter.

If you are experiencing unexplained high water bills, don’t hesitate to contact us – we’re here to help!