Frequently Asked Questions

In this section you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Please choose the question you would like answered from below.

Why Do I Receive a Bill From Southern Water and Portsmouth Water?

Portsmouth Water provides your drinking water and normally Southern Water charge for your waste water.

Find out more on our customer information page

How Do I Read My Water Meter?

The meter is placed in a box with the Company's stopcock which is either in the pavement or property forecourt.

Find out how to read your meter on our Domestic Water Meters page

What Is The Water Pressure In My Area?

The Company has a duty to provide a minimum guaranteed water pressure of 10 metres head (1 bar). This minimum standard is measured at the Company’s stop valve which is usually situated at the boundary of the property.

Find out how to read your meter on our Operational Services page

What Happens To My Credit Balance When I Move House?

If you move within our area of supply any credit balance is passed to your new account, otherwise we send you a refund cheque.

Please Click Here To Inform Us If You Are Moving House

Does My Rateable Value Change With My Council Tax Banding?

Water Companies are not permitted to use the banding system to fix their charges. However, if you feel that you are paying too much for your water supply, you can normally switch to a water meter and thereafter pay for what you actually use.

My tap water is cloudy and has been for a few hours now. Is there anything wrong with it?

Cloudy water is due to lots of air bubbles in the water, which are so small it makes the water appear white. The air in the water will quickly clear (rising from the bottom upwards).

This shows that it is only air and so not harmful at all. If you run the tap and the cloudy water doesn’t clear it could be that the mains water is affected – there may have been some work in the area, such as a burst main. Sometimes work on the water pipes can cause air to be trapped in the water. This should clear in a few days however if it does not then please do not worry; however should you need to call us then please telephone our number under ‘Contact Us’.

My tap water tastes or smells of TCP, chemical or disinfectant. Is there anything I can do?

We add chlorine at our water treatment works to make sure the public water supply is safe to drink.

Sometimes you may notice a change in the taste or smell of your drinking water.

The water is often described as having a TCP, antiseptic, metallic, chemical, medicinal or bitter taste or smell to it. It's noticeable when you first run the tap, in boiled drinks, or when a glass of water has stood for a period of time.

Further advice on causes and what you can do to help can be found in our advice sheet ‘My tap water tastes or smells of medicine, chemical, disinfectant or TCP’ and can be downloaded here.

What is the Hardness of my Water?

Our water is mainly derived from the chalk of the South Downs - it is excellent quality, but its chalk source means that it is moderately hard. Water hardness comes from naturally occurring calcium and magnesium salts, dissolved from the chalk as the water passes through it. These natural salts give the water a crisp, pleasant and fresh taste and in addition, calcium and magnesium are essential minerals in our diet, making our water some of the best quality drinking water in the country. If you would like any further information relating to hardness please download our Water Hardness Advice Leaflet here.

Sometimes it can be important to know the exact water hardness in your area, particularity if you are purchasing new household appliances such as a dishwasher or washing machine.

The following table shows the normal ranges of hardness:

English °Clarkes
German °dH
French °TF
mg/l Calcium
mmol/l Alk Earths
Soft0 - 1500 - 10.50 - 8.40 - 150 - 600 - 1.5
Moderately Hard151 -30010.6 - 218.5 - 16.815.1 - 3061 - 1201.51 - 2.99
Hard301 - 44522 – 3216.9 – 25.131 – 45121 – 1803 – 4.49
Very HardOver 445Over 32Over 25.1Over 45Over 181Over 4.49

The table on the water quality page shows the water hardness for the Portsmouth Water area:

click here to visit the water quality page.

I am on a meter, why does my bill show more than one Standing Charge?

The standing charge quoted on your bill ends on 30 June 2015 and will not appear on future bills if the bill period is after 30 June 2015.

The standing charge from 1 July 2015 has been split into two elements. A Retail Standing Charge that cover covers the cost of sending a bill, having a billing account, reading the meter and dealing with any customer contact. The second is the Wholesale Standing Charge that covers the cost of maintaining the meter and having the capacity to supply you.

We have made these changes because we now have to separate the costs of these activities, ready for competition entering the market for Commercial customers which is due to commence in April 2017.

My new home has a water meter

If you move to a property with a meter you will have to pay

measured water and sewerage charges.

We would recommend that you take a meter reading as soon as you take responsibility for the property.

If you've not had a metered water supply before, there are a few things you need to know.

  • Your water and sewerage bills will now be linked to how much water you use. The meter measures the incoming water, and the outgoing waste water is normally worked out as a percentage of what was supplied (e.g. 92.5% for household customers) So you now have some control over the size of your bill by being careful how you use water around the home and garden.
  • We will read the meter twice a year, and send you a bill within a couple of days for what has been recorded since the previous reading. We will also pass the meter reading to your waste water company, normally Southern Water. We may estimate your usage if we cannot read the meter. This will be based on what you have used before, but you can always phone us with your own actual reading if you think the estimate is too high.
  • The water meter belongs to us but you can read it to check how much you're using. It may be underground in a small chamber on the footpath outside your house, in your garden, in a wall mounted meter box or inside your home (e.g. under the kitchen sink).
  • If you're able to, it is good practice to read it regularly because this will help you spot any unexpected increase that could be due to an underground leak or a dripping/leaking appliance or fitting indoors.

    Your metered water bill will show the charges under two headings:

    1.The standing (or fixed) charges for your water supply service
    2. The volume charge for water supplied (the number of complete cubic metres used multiplied by the rate per cubic metre)

    If you get a higher than expected bill, it may simply be that you have used more water because of things such as garden watering, laying turf or extra people in your home, but it could mean there is a leak or that the meter was misread. If you are concerned about your meter readings please contact us.

    When you move out, please tell us five working days before you leave so that it can arrange a closing read.

    If you move into a property with a water meter you cannot have the meter removed. If you were not aware that the property had a meter before you bought it, you may wish to pursue this with your conveyance team or solicitor to establish why this information was excluded from the searches made on the property you bought. We will not notify you prior to occupation that your new property is metered unless you specifically contact us.

Do Portsmouth Water offer a single occupancy discount?

Portsmouth Water do not offer a discount for single occupiers. You may be able to reduce your water charges by having a water meter installed, or applying for our social tariff. More information can be found in the “problems paying” section here.

Southern Water may be able to offer a single occupancy discount on your waste water account. For more information please view their website here.