Waste Water Abatements – Reduce Allotment Water Charges

There’s been a lot of concern amongst the allotment community about ‘non residential water charges‘ and quite a long discussion on this can be found on the forums: Water Charges Threat to Allotments.

Anyway, I had a really interesting email off Tim Lund who is the Development Officer of Kent House Leisure Gardens about the amounts of money allotment sites are paying now and how they can save or get a rebate. Tim originally sent this email to the Bromley Allotments and Leisure Gardens Federation allotment sites and they pay to Thames Water.

However, it’s just as applicable whoever you pay your water charges to. One point he makes is that it is worthwhile sites within the same water supplier’s region comparing notes. The water utility companies are not going to play fair unless they’re forced to and allotment site managers need to share information to enable them to argue effectively.

I’ve edited the email slightly to make it more generally applicable.

Waste Water Abatements

Over the last three years, we at Kent House Leisure Gardens have paid Thames Water nearly £1,500 more than we should.  We hope that by drawing the attention of other allotment sites to the reasons – the removal during the hose pipe ban of a waste water abatement we had previously negotiated – any other site in the same position, or who have not previously been aware of the possibility of waste water abatements, will also be able from now to start saving themselves about one third of their metered water costs.

Check your water bills as see if you are being charged for waste water, and if so how much.  Recently we have been paying £1.1313 per cubic meter for water supplied, and £0.5576 for waste water – in other words water that goes back into the sewers. However, water used for watering allotments does NOT go back into the sewers, and so it is possible to claim a waste water abatement. If you have no toilets or kitchens on the site, you should be able to get a 100% abatement, which will save you 33% on your metered costs – although not on the total which includes a fixed daily charge.

If like us you do have toilets and kitchens, it will be slightly more complicated. Without going to the trouble of installing a separate meter – which we might eventually – we have made an estimate nonetheless, and expect to get our metered bills down by about 28%.

If you are not getting a water abatement, can I urge you to contact your water utility supplier. Compare notes so that you can present them with consistent estimates, which will make it harder for them to argue the toss?

Thanks Tim – Really Useful Information

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Waste Water Abatements – Reduce Allotment Water Charges
  1. gillian matthews says:

    hello, just had the estimate from the water company ,to install water to our large plot, 9508.48p.we were taken aback just a bit.
    What are the alternatives, eg water tanks ,bowsers and can we have a pumping system ,and perhaps solar panels on the shed.
    We are first timers so any info would be a great help.
    thanks jill and steve

  2. Colin says:

    This is probably a question that many people will be asking soon.
    The answer must depend so much on where you live. Do you have enough winter rainfall to fill a large reservoir? Have you room for a deep rain-filled pond? How far down is the water table? (I am sure that you would need special licence for a borehole, but a cistern that fills from the ground water might work – they used to be called wells!)
    I imagine that a combination of poly-tunnels, copious guttering and voluminous storage could be almost self-contained, a sort of DIY Thanet Earth Project (see http://www.thanetearth.com/faqs-water-use.html).
    I had half expected John to chip in with his comment that plants often need far less water that their enthusiastic growers give them.

  3. Mr Tunstall says:

    Water falls out of the sky and lands on the earth.

    Therefore it is owned equally by each person and animal inhabiting the planet.


    The management and service for collecting and delivering water in pipes should be run by’not for profit’ organisations with no fat cats or shareholders.

    Only then can the correct fee or charges be worked out.


    Hello. I would like to ask one question: have you considered to install water meters for every plot holder? The water meters and installation are free in England. If there is a water pipe outside the allotments, so I believe it would not expensive at all. What I mean, that the plot holders would be paying the rent + insurance + any other charges but be paying for their own water usage. It might sound insane, but it is not fair to charge the same amount of rent to one who is growing just a few beds and mainly fruit trees and the other has greenhouse and various vegetables and e.g. strawberries (which really need to be watered ). I believe people would not be wasting water as it would be coming out of their own pocket.

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