top of page


Your water bills aren't always straightforward. Below are answers to a few frequently asked questions. If you can't find what you are looking for here, please contact us and we'll do our best to help. We are stronger together!

Water Purification Treatment

QU 1


No. Legally, water companies are not allowed to cut off domestic households if they don’t pay their bills. 

QU 2


The water industry is a complex one. Some water companies only provide incoming services (like Affinity, Bournemouth Water, Portsmouth Water, South East Water). There are just 11 companies in England and Wales that are responsible for safely and responsibly disposing of raw sewage: Anglian Water, Dwy Cymru (Welsh Water), Hafren Dyfrdwy, Northumbrian Water, Severn Trent Water, South West Water, Southern Water, Thames Water, United Utilities, Wessex Water, Yorkshire Water. Some customers are charged by two separate companies for their supply and disposal of wastewater. We do not suggest withholding payment from your water provider if this is a separate company, only the company responsible for the service which you believe is not being provided adequately. For a full list of all the different companies within the water industry, see

Screenshot 2023-06-13 at 11.06.28.png
Margate 2 Andrew Hastings.jpg

QU 3


According to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau they may:

  • send reminder notices, with the final notice giving you seven days to pay. If you have more than one unpaid water bill, you should get separate reminder notices for each bill. 

  • telephone you to ask for payment

  • pass your debt to a debt recovery agent.

As a last resort, the company could take you to court to get a county court judgment to recover the money you owe. You may then get a notice of enforcement from a firm of bailiffs telling you they are going to come round. If they come, they could take goods to sell to pay the money you owe. In some circumstances the owner of the property can be responsible for the bill jointly with the occupier, and the company might try to recover the money from the owner. 

QU 4

Will you contact me?

We have no plans at this stage to set up any regular communications with boycotters. Instead we will update the website with the latest news. If there are significant developments pertinent to those taking this action, we may share information on email. However, there will always be an opportunity to opt-out. 

Margate 6 Andrew Hastings[1].jpg

QU 5

Can the water company chase me for money while I am in dispute with them?

OFWAT'S Paying Fair guidance is very clear that: 

"Where debts are queried or disputed, the company should respond promptly, fully and appropriately to the customer’s enquiries. 

"Collection activity should be put on hold whilst investigating a reasonably queried or disputed debt."

However, in a recent update to its guidelines issued as a direct result of boycott actions, the Consumer Council of Water published this statement  saying that they were aware of people boycotting part of their bill in protest at water company's environmental performance. 

Now, advice has been tightened and the CCW says:

'There is no requirement for a water company to suspend or delay debt recovery action just because a customer has raised a dispute with them or CCW. Ofwat’s Paying Fair guidance only applies where a water company is investigating the accuracy of a customer’s bill or whether it has been paid. This is not relevant here as customers are choosing to boycott bill payment.'


So, to ensure your complaint falls under OFWAT'S Paying Fair Guidelines we suggest that in all communications with your water company you state that you are questioning the 'accuracy' of your bill due to persistent sewage spills and refrain from using the word 'boycott'. 


In the previous advice given on 23 August 2023 the CCW Consumer Advisor stated:
'I would strongly urge you to contact [water company] ...and ask if your case is still under investigation.
If they say YES  then state the above.

If however they say it is NO your case has been closed, then demand that you be told if your case had breached its Stage 2 complaint so that it may be referred to ourselves and that the debt collection be paused whilst we investigate.

And finally if they state that it was just an enquiry and not a complaint, then demand that a complaint be immediately raised and that the debt collection be paused whilst its investigated.

As you are likely aware, CCW cannot officially become involved until your complaint with [water company] has gone through both Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the water companies complaints procedure. 
We effectively form Stage 3 and can only take over the investigation when the water company has informed you that they have reached their full and final decision and that they are now referring your case over to ourselves."

Qu 6
What rights do I have as a consumer with regards to my water bill?

Great question! Usually, when a company fails to perform its services to an acceptable standard, the consumer is afforded protection under the Consumer Act 2015, but we are told by the water companies that there is “no written legal contract” between water companies and their customers – and no need of one.

Instead the companies are governed by statute under the Water Industry Act 1991 and so they have a statutory obligation to provide services for which we, the customers, are statutorily obliged to pay, like council tax. 

An appeal currently awaiting judgment by the Supreme Court (Manchester Ship Canal Ltd v United Utilities) may provide more clarification of this, but in the meantime, please be aware that as things stand currently there is no protection for customers under the Consumer Act 2015 for water provision.

Water Flowing Out Pipe
bottom of page