WaterSure Scheme: What Is It and How Can I Apply?

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The WaterSure Scheme gives support for water customers who are struggling with their water bill and who have a high water usage. Find out if you are eligible for the WaterSure Scheme and how you can apply.

What is the WaterSure Scheme?

The WaterSure Scheme is a support scheme for water customers who are struggling to pay their water bill and have a higher water usage than normal due to a medical condition or a larger household. The WaterSure Scheme adds a cap to your water rates so you are not charged more than the average water bill in your area.

How Does the WaterSure Scheme Work?


Many water customers struggle to pay their household bills as it is, and needing to use more water than normal due to a medical condition makes many customers worried that their bills are going to explode due to higher usage. However, the WaterSure Scheme keeps your water bill at a manageable level.

When you’re on the WaterSure Scheme, your water supplier will cap your water bill based on the average water bill in your area. This means that if you use over the average water usage, you will not be charged more.

The WaterSure Scheme is offered by all water companies. Since they are regulated by the water regulator Ofwat, you will always have this support, even if you change suppliers by moving out.

How Do I Qualify for the WaterSure Scheme?

You need to meet a number of criteria in order to qualify for the WaterSure Scheme. The defining requirements are usually:

  1. Have a water meter installed
  2. Use a high amount of essential water
  3. Receive certain benefits

Water Meter

A water meter is a device that measures the amount of water that a customer uses in their household. Currently, only around 40% of UK households have a water meter installed, meaning that the majority of customers are unmetered. An unmetered customer is billed for their water based on rateable value.

You can either have a traditional water meter or a smart water meter that sends automatic water meter readings to your water supplier.

What is Rateable Value? Rateable Value was the way that council rates were calculated prior to 1990. Although this is no longer used, water companies still base their charges off of rateable value. Rateable value is calculated via an assessment of a property’s condition, age, and size.

In order to qualify for the WaterSure Scheme, you must have a water meter installed at your property. Every water company in the UK will offer you a water meter free of charge and will install it for you. Some water companies like Thames Water obligate all their customers to have a water meter.

To find out more about applying for a meter, check out our Water Meter guide.

What Is High Essential Use of Water?


Usually if you have high essential use of water, this means that you either have a larger household or a medical condition that requires a greater water usage. The official criteria for the high essential use of what are:

  • You have or you live with someone who has a medical condition requiring higher water usage
  • You have three or more children who are living at home and are under 19

You can automatically qualify for the WaterSure Scheme is you have one of the following medical conditions:

  • Medicial Condition Covered by WaterSure
  • Desquamation - flakey skin loss
  • Weeping Skin Disease
  • Incontinence
  • Abdominal Stoma
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Renal Failure - where a dialysis machine is required at home

This is not necessarily an exhaustive list and you may be able to apply if you have another condition. You might need your doctor to provide you with details for the water company.

If you have three or more children who are in full time education you can also apply for the scheme to get help with your monthly water bill.

Suddenly no water supply? If you’ve suddenly lost your water supply and there is no water in your house, call your water company at once for them to come and sort it out. Find your supplier’s contact number quickly by looking through our Supplier List.

What Benefits Are Covered?

You will need to be receiving benefits or universal credit in order to qualify for the WaterSure Scheme. Although some of the benefits criteria vary with from company to company, all water companies must offer the following:

  • Benefits Covered by WaterSure
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit

There are also water suppliers who will offer you the WaterSure Scheme if you are on the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

How Do I Apply for the WaterSure Scheme?


To apply to the WaterSure Scheme, you will need to fill out an application form from each individual water company. The application form will ask you to provide a number of details so the water company can fully make sure you are eligible for the WaterSure Scheme.

There are 6 parts to a WaterSure Scheme application form:

  1. Personal Details 
  2. Tax and Benefit Details
  3. Medical Condition
  4. Number of Children
  5. Payment Plan
  6. Final Declaration

WaterSure Scheme Form: Personal Details

For the first part of the WaterSure application form, you will need to fill out your personal details. This will include:

  1. Your water company account number
  2. First and Last Name
  3. Address and Postcode
  4. Phone Number
  5. Email Address

You will be able to find your water company account number at the top of your latest water bill.

WaterSure Scheme Form: Tax and Benefits Details

You will need to fill in the tax details of the person who is applying for the WaterSure Scheme. This means just filling in the National Insurance Number of the person who will be receiving the WaterSure Scheme.

You should also detail the benefits you receive by either ticking the correct box or writing the name of the benefits programme you receive. You will need to attach a photocopy of your bank statements or notice of entitlement to prove you are eligible.

WaterSure Scheme Form: Medical Condition


If you are applying for a medical condition, you must fill out the name of the condition and explain how this affects your water usage. This might be having a dialysis machine at home that requires you to use a lot of water for example.

To prove your medical condition, you should provide one of the following:

  • A letter from your doctor explaining the condition and why you need a higher water usage
  • A copy of the most recent prescription
  • An official stamp from a doctor or other health visitor on the form

WaterSure Scheme Form: Number of Children


If you are applying for a larger household, you must fill out the section of the number of children. You should provide the names and dates of birth of each child and attach the notice of entitlement to child benefit for each child.

WaterSure Scheme Form: Payment Plan

This next section is optional. You only need to fill this in if you want to change your payment plan or method with your water company.

There's more than one way to pay Everyone’s finances are different and some people manage their payments with one method over the other. With water bills, there are a lot of options to pick from and it’s important to find the one that is most comfortable for you. Check out our How To Pay Your Water Bill guide to find out more.

WaterSure Scheme: Final Declaration

For the final declaration you will need to sign and date the WaterSure Scheme application form and agree to the following:

  • There is someone in your household you is eligible for the WaterSure Scheme
  • You only use a hose pipe or watering can to water your garden
  • You do not have an auto-filling swimming pool or large pond
  • You are not aware of a leak
  • You do not use the property for commercial purposes

When Will the WaterSure Scheme Start?


You will start receiving your WaterSure Scheme support from the start of the billing period in which you applied. So if you applied in mid-November, the WaterSure Scheme help will be applied to the beginning of November.

What If I Have A Different Sewerage Company?

Water customers are sometimes billed by two companies. The first for their clean water supply and the second for their sewerage services. You only need to apply for the WaterSure Scheme with your water provider who will inform your sewerage supplier.

Do I Need To Reapply for the WaterSure Scheme?


You usually reapply for the WaterSure Scheme every 12 months. Your water company will let you know if you need to reapply and give you sufficient notice to provide any evidence again. 

If you change water companies because you have moved house, you should ring them up when you set up your water bill and ask them about the WaterSure Scheme.

Is There Any Other Water Bill Help Available?

Individual water companies also offer support to their customers to pay the water bill. Here is a list of the different support offered by the UK water suppliers to help make water bill payments:

Help Offered By Water Companies

Individual water companies also offer support to their customers to pay the water bill. Here is a list of the different support offered by the UK water suppliers to help make water bill payments:

Water Supplier Scheme Offered
Affinity Water Lift
Anglian Water Lite
Bournemouth Water WaterCare
Bristol Water Assist
Cambridge Water Assure
Welsh Water Dŵr Cymru HelpU
Essex and Suffolk Water SupportPLUS
Hafren Dyfrdwy Here2Help
Hartlepool Water Lite
Northumbrian Water SupportPLUS
Portsmouth Water Helping Hand Scheme
Severn Trent Water Big Difference
Southern Water Essentials Tariff
South Staffs Water Assure
South West Water WaterCare
SES Water Water Support
Thames Water WaterHelp
United Unities Help To Pay and Back On Track
Wessex Water Assist
Yorkshire Water WaterSupport

Source: Consumer Council for Water.

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