Household water bills across Scotland are to increase by 4.2% for the next year.
Scottish Water announced the rise for 2022/23 on Friday.
It comes amid growing fears of a cost-of-living crisis across the UK due to surging energy costs, higher interest rates and inflation, and tax bills hitting individuals and families hard in the pocket.
The new annual charges, collected alongside council tax and in line with the CPI inflation figure for October 2021, are expected to mean an average bill increase of 31p per week.
Scottish Water, the public company accountable to ministers which is responsible for providing water and sewerage services, supplies some 2.6 million households across the country.
Around half of the households are expected to receive financial support as they automatically have either a discount, exemption or reduction applied to their water and wastewater charges.
Scottish Water said it needs to increase investment to “protect services against the impact of climate change, reduce carbon emissions and ensure customers have reliable and resilient services in future”.
Douglas Millican, chief executive of Scottish Water, said: “Customers rely on our services for their daily water needs and to take away and clean the water they use.
“Over the last two years those services have been vital to maintaining public health during the pandemic.”
Mr Millican added that prices will need to rise further in future years.
He said: “Higher levels of investment are needed to protect services now and over the long-term, particularly in meeting the challenges of more intense rainfall, flooding, and drought, and reducing carbon emissions.
“We understand there needs to be a balance between the need for higher levels of investment and the financial challenges faced by households at the present time.
“We have set charges at a level that takes account of those challenges while being open and clear that charges will need to increase further in future years.”
Unmetered household charges 2022/23
- Council tax band A: Water supply £147.60, wastewater collection, £171.36, combined services £318.96.
- Council tax band B: Water supply £172.20, wastewater collection, £199.92, combined services £372.12.
- Council tax band C: Water supply £196.80, wastewater collection, £228.48, combined services £425.28.
- Council tax band D: Water supply £221.40, wastewater collection, £257.04, combined services £478.44.
- Council tax band E: Water supply £270.60, wastewater collection, £314.16, combined services £584.76.
- Council tax band F: Water supply £319.80, wastewater collection, £371.28, combined services £691.08.
- Council tax band G: Water supply £369, wastewater collection, £428.40, combined services £797.40.
- Council tax band H: Water supply £442.80, wastewater collection, £514.08, combined services £956.88.
Net-zero and energy secretary Michael Matheson said the Scottish Government remains “committed” to supporting people facing issues paying their water bills.
He added: “While UK-wide energy prices rise beyond inflation, in Scotland the increase to water charges for 2022-23 has been set at 4.2% – in line with inflation.
“In developing the charging principles for the industry for 2021-27, ministers took the decision to increase the levels of support for those vulnerable customers who have the most difficulty paying.
“The water charges reduction scheme discount has increased from 25% to 35% – protecting thousands of eligible households from higher charges.
“Households in receipt of the full water charges reduction scheme discount will actually pay less than they did in 2020-21.
“In addition, water charges in Scotland remain linked to council tax bands – which means that discounts which apply to council tax, such as the single person discount, also apply to water and sewerage charges.
“Keeping our water services in public ownership means that every pound raised is re-invested in our water industry.
“Our average water charges remain lower than the average in other parts of the UK – in 2021-22 the average charge in Scotland is £375, compared to £408 in England and Wales.”