Surface water drainage

You could reduce your bill!

'Surface water' is another word for rainwater – more specifically, rainwater that falls on the ground, on roofs and roads, pavements and paths. And you might not realise it, but you could be paying less for your water bills if surface water from your property doesn’t drain into any of our sewers.

First things first, though – how exactly do we define 'surface water'? Well, we describe it as water that falls as rain, is collected by drains and gullies on your property, before being removed by us via a public sewer. So, you could be entitled to a reduction in your water bills if:

  • All the surface water from your roof or shared roof drains directly to the ground via a soakaway (a means of draining away water through the ground) at both the front or rear of your property and
  • All the surface water from your garden or hard standing areas (e.g. drive, patio or yard) drains directly to the ground or
  • All the surface water from your property drains directly into a watercourse, brook or stream or
  • You pay a third party (e.g. British Waterways) to dispose of your surface water.

We've included a diagram to illustrate a property that may be entitled to a reduction.

When you’re not entitled to a water bill reduction

Unfortunately, you’re not entitled to a water bill reduction if:

  • Any proportion of your surface water drains to a public sewer.
  • Only part of your surface water goes to a soakaway, with some surface water still draining to the public sewer.
  • You have re-directed your roof drainage into water butts.
  • You drain to a watercourse, brook or stream via a public sewer.

We've included a diagram to illustrate a property that is not entitled to a reduction.

How to apply for a reduction in your water bill

  • Please ensure you have carried out a full investigation as to where your surface water drains to.
  • If you believe that none of your surface water drains to a public sewer, please complete the bill reduction application form and answer all the questions.
  • Finally, draw a diagram of your property showing the house, garden and hard standing areas, and indicate where you think your surface water drains to. This will help us if we need to visit your property to check whether or not your surface water drains to the public sewer.

Your questions answered

Q. How much could you save?

Please refer to the application form for full details about this year's reduction.

Q. If I am eligible, when will the lower charge apply from?

It will apply from the start of the charging year in which you make your application. The charging year runs from 1st April until the 31st March.

Q. Will the lower charge be backdated to cover previous years?

No, in accordance with our published Charges Scheme (which is approved by Ofwat), the lower charge is given from the start of the charging year in which you apply.

Q. If I am eligible, do I need to apply every year?

No, your charges will be amended automatically each year. However, if you make any alterations to your property or existing drainage, please let us know. This may affect future charges.

Q. If my claim for surface water is allowed, will the highway drainage charge also be removed?

No, we cannot offer a reduction in this charge. Rain drains to our public sewer from roads and highways. We then collect this rainwater and treat it before discharging it back into rivers and seas. Since the whole community benefits from this service, all wastewater customers must pay a contribution.

Q. My neighbour has recently received an allowance - will I be entitled to one?

Not necessarily; each claim is assessed on an individual basis.

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