The biggest items of household expenditure after mortgage payments or rent (and don’t forget Council Tax) are the utilities – your gas, electricity and water. We’ll look at all of them over forthcoming blogs, but today we’re concentrating on water.

As with any utility you use, you have an opportunity to cut down on how much you pay for using water. Obviously, it is essential for any household to not only have running water but also the sewerage system that takes away the waste, and, if your property is on mains drainage, the cost of that service is directly linked to the amount of water your household uses.

Remember that although privatised, the water market is not open to competition, so you are stuck with your provider, unlike gas and electricity suppliers. Your water company can charge you for their service in two ways.

1. A bill based on rateable value: This means that the rateable value of your home, based on the amount of rent that home could attract if rented privately (last assessed in 1973 so somewhat archaic), is what the water company will use to set its charge. It doesn’t matter how much water you use, you pay the same, so if you have a high water-use household this could work in your favour.

2. A bill based on a water meter: Since 1990, water meters have been fitted to all new homes, and the size of your water bill reflects your water consumption. If you don’t have a meter fitted and you think you would benefit financially, you can use online tools that water companies provide to see if it’s worth it. In England and Wales, meters are supplied and fixed free, though in Scotland you will have to pay for the costs of installation.

It is a good thing for everyone to cut down on water usage for environmental and financial reasons. You can save money by employing simple tips, such as not leaving the tap running all the time when brushing your teeth and placing water saving devices in toilet cisterns thus considerably reducing the amount of water you use over a 12-month period.