Does Council Tax Include Water?

This blog will answer the question “Does council tax include water?” It will deal with the distribution of council tax for water and where the water charges actually come from. It will also cover the basics of council tax and various areas where council tax contributes. 

Does council tax include water?

No, council tax does not include water. Council tax is used to pay many local bills, but water and sewerage charge is not one of them in England. Council tax pays for the services provided by the local councils. In a way, it is a charge levied by the local councils for the services they provide to their residents. Water, water waste and drainage system are not the ones that come under the head, therefore, your council tax bill does not include water.

Council tax 

Council Tax is a local charge upon properties resided in by people. It pays towards the cost of several services availed by people, including water. The Council Tax year runs from 1st of  April to 31st March. How much council tax you pay depends on which band your house is in. Each band is calculated as a proportion of band D, which is taken as the base limit. 

What all is included in council tax

Council tax funds are used for various purposes, by different councils. 

The following points enumerate what ways council tax money might be used in:

  • As care services for older people and people with physical or learning disabilities.
  • Used for implementing change programmes across adult social care called Your Life Your Way, helping people remain independent for as long as possible.
  • To provide high-quality leisure facilities, libraries and the customer service network. 
  • For economic regeneration supports a range of activities, including specific support to enable the high street and businesses to recover from the pandemic.
  • Targeted protection for low-income families through a year one extension of the Council Tax Hardship Fund
  • Housing and Public Protection, development of housing companies.
  • Providing services such as drainage and flood defences.
  • Contributing towards education.
  • Contributing to Children’s social care.
  • Developing public health.
  • Use in Planning and Development Management.
  • To encourage Tourism, maintaining parks and sports centers.
  • Providing Streetscene Services which includes rubbish and waste collection and disposal, recycling, grounds maintenance,, and street cleansing services.
  • Providing Transport services
  • Carrying out Highway and property maintenance
  • Dealing with street lighting and cleaning, and road maintenance
  • Towards Benefit payment
  • Servicing as Business Support including legal, democratic, finance, human resources, procurement, and income collection services.
  • Dedicated to Police and crime commissioner
  • Given towards Fire and rescue authority
  • For monitoring environmental health and trading standards
  • For administration and record-keeping, such as marriages, deaths and birth, and local elections.

On what the money is spent

The money from council tax is spent on the following aspects:

  • Places
  • People
  • Resources
  • Capital charges
  • Passenger transport levy

Effect of council tax on water bill

Council tax bands are different from the rateable value of your domestic properties and by law, can’t be used to calculate your water charges. So any changes in your council tax banding won’t affect your water bill.

Water charges in England

The water charges in England are calculated in two ways: metered and unmetered. 

Unmetered charge

There is no regulation of your water usage in unmetered charges. I fixed rate is set for you depending upon your rateable value. Your water bill in this case consists of a fixed charge and a charge based on your property’s rateable value. The rateable value of your house is based  on your local authority’s assessment of the rental value of your home.

Metered charge

This is like an electricity meter. You get billed for the amount of water you use at the rate fixed per your usage. These amounts are distributed into units of water, based upon which your water bill is calculated. You can request a metered bill if your water bill is unmetered and you feel your bill to be too high as compared to what you use.

What your water rates depend upon

Your water rates depend upon the place where you love. The charge upon water may vary from council to council. You have regional differences in your domestic water rates. These domestic water rates for every region depend upon the size of your region, and the availability of water in your region.

The water charge upon you also covers additional related expenses suchcentersntaining the quality of the water.

Types of charges under the water charge

Council tax includes water as well as sewage charges.

  • Water charge is the one charged upon the freshwater that comes out of all the taps of your house.
  • The second charge is the sewerage charge that is put upon the water that goes out of your house. Meaning, the sewerage charge is charged upon the wastewater, or the grey or foul water that goes back to be treated. It also includes any water that is released from your property to go into public sewers. This sewerage water is assumed to be 95% of the total.

On average, you pay around £396.60 a year for water. The amount changes per year, and differs from region to region. Residents in North-Western England pay around £18 more than residents of the west country.

Reducing money spent on the water

There is no method, like in the case of energy, to switch your water supplier. It depends on the place you live. Therefore, you can get no discount on the water or sewerage charge. Surface water drainage charge is one you have to pay as a part of your domestic water bill. However, there are a few methods by which you can lessen this bill.

These methods are:

  • You can avoid the drainage charge altogether if you prove that no water from your property drains into public sewers. For example, if you show that you have a soakaway, you can avoid the future water charges, and get a refund for the past ones paid incorrectly.
  • Most probably you pay fixed charges for water. You can reduce the bill by switching to a metered connection. This water meter shall calculate the water usage by you, and will charge you accordingly.
  • You can put up a water displacement device such as save-a-flush. This helps store your water use each time you flush. Most water suppliers provide this for free.
  • You can try collecting rainwater for garden use and using it in some of your appliances, which reduces your main water use

Water and sewerage in Scotland

In Scotland, the council tax bills on domestic properties also contain water as well as sewerage charges. These charges go to the water authority. In Scotland, the Scottish Water supplies does the tasks of supplying drinking water and taking away wastewater for most of the domestic households. However, the bill given to the residents is included with their council tax bill. The water charges in Scotland are a part of council tax.

The amount you need to pay for the sewerage and water charges in Scotland is determined by the council tax band in which your property is. The Scottish Water department is responsible for setting charges for waste water.

In order to check what amount you have to pay, you can visit the website of Scottish Waters.

For people unable to pay the charges, they also have the option to receive up to 35% water and waste reduction if they get council tax reduction. The value of reduction they can receive depends upon the level of council tax received and whether they any council tax discount is applicable for them. In simple word, any council tax discount that you might be entitled to and receive is also applicable to water and sewerage.

The local council is only responsible for including the water and wastewater charges in thier council tax bills, not for setting the value of these charges.


The respective charges for metered and non-metered households  for the financial year 2021-22 is available on the Scottish water’s official website. The website also offers the proper distribution of the council tax and proper schemes of water charges distribution in different spheres.

Water and sewerage in Northern Ireland

Since there is no council tax in Northern Ireland, therefore no question if council tax tax includes water charges or not. The water charge here is a part of overall domestic rates imposed upon the houses. These overall domestic rates also include education, health, and transport along with water and sewerage charges.


This blog answered the question “Does council tax include water?” It dealt with the distribution of council tax for water and where the water charges come from. It also covered the basics of council tax and various areas where council tax contributes. 


Do we pay for water?

Yes you have to pay for your water usage whether you live anywhere across the United Kingdom. There are different charges for different councils, and different criterion for calculation. But the one thing constent throughout the UK is that you have to pay for water.

What is council tax based on?

Council tax is based upon the value of your property, which determines which Band your property is in, the number of adults staying at your property, the circumstances of people, and the income of the person responsible to pay the council tax. 

What is included in council tax Scotland?

In council tax Scotland, several services provided by the local councils are included, such as, schools, rubbish collection, roads, street lighting, water, and sewerage charge.

Why do we get charged for water?

You get charged for water for the services provided by the various water departments. The charge is for providing the water services, operating and maintaining water, and for the treatment of wastewater. 

How do you calculate water usage?

Your water usage can be calculated by the meter reading. The meter reading is available in units of water you used. In order to calculate the total cost, you need to multiply the number of units on your meter by your current water rate.