water_40px
Water Rebates
(Surface water drainage)

How can you find money here?


DEFRA encourages concessionary schemes to pay for the surface water drainage charges for charities and community groups.

Severn Trent and United Utilities (AKA Water Plus) for example has 15 different bands for surface area charges but allows some charities to qualify for Band 1 - i.e. its lowest tariff.

Other suppliers will give you a rebate and a discount going forward if your surface water does not enter a public sewer or your surface water area has been calculated incorrectly. So if you have any soakaways on the property or rainwater draining directly into a watercourse or stream, rather than public drains.

Ofwat provides the following advice: "You may be able to reduce your bill by checking that your water company has estimated your site area correctly, or by reducing the amount of surface water on your site that drains into the public sewers. Your water company may also have not taken account of site area where natural drainage occurs. You should only be charged for surface water drainage for areas which, directly or indirectly, drain into public sewers. Therefore, areas that drain naturally, such as sports fields, should not be included in the chargeable site area. Again, if  you believe that such areas have not been taken into consideration, you should contact your water company for a review. This could result in significant savings."

What do you need to do?


  1. Check a bill to see if any discounts apply for being a charity or for surface water drainage.
  2. If you are billed on an area basis, also check to see if your Sq Meter figure is accurate.
  3. Walk around the property - or look at its deeds - to see if you have any non-sewer drainage (gravel, lawns, flowerbeds, soak-aways, natural water courses, etc.).
  4. Armed with your evidence (e.g. photos), contact your water company to either submit a request for a rebate &/or apply for a discretionary surface water drainage discount.
  1. If you have any delays or need help, contact us on 0808 1645 808 or email us at help@backofthesofa.com.

What have other charities found?

Speech marks

We are a small charity so any savings in our overheads goes towards making lives better for the community that we work in. This is a significant amount to us.

Suzanne Rhind

The Wayland Partnership Development Trust

Found £500

Speech marks

You have helped save our almshouses charity over four hundred pounds a year - money we can put to better use.

John Huntley

Coxed & Pearce & Kimbers Almshouses

Found £400

Speech marks

So far an excellent level of help and support. As a charity it is vital that we make the most out of funds raised by volunteers.

Andrew Cherry

Rothes Community Company

Found £1,300

Cross icon for closing menu