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Thames Water: Rewarding housing developers

Water neutrality rewards for housing developers with innovative Thames Water scheme

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  • What we know
  • What we’re doing
  • What it’s worth

What we know

The South East of England is classed as “seriously water stressed” by the Environment Agency.

If no action is taken, shortfalls of up to 1.1 billion litres of water a day are forecast by 2040.

A plan launched by all south-east based water companies in January 2022 outlined the need for consumers to use less water to help avoid the shortfalls. Read more here:

To keep taps running for future generations and to protect sensitive rivers and chalk streams we need to reduce the amount of water we all use. This includes fixing more leaks but also people using less water in their daily lives.

What we’re doing

Thames Water’s innovative incentive scheme for developers offers a three-stage discount on new connection charges to developers who go the extra mile to install water efficient devices, introduce rainwater harvesting or grey water* recycling and achieve water neutrality.

Housing developers who commit to building new properties fitted with low water using devices like showers and washing machines and use rainwater or grey water for toilet flushing and watering plants, will be offered discounts on the charges they pay Thames Water to connect to the public water supply.

The scheme also offers discounts to developers who use innovative methods and sustainable drainage options to manage surface water run-off from their developments rather than have it enter the public sewer network. Reducing the volume of surface water from roads and roofs entering the sewers, frees up capacity and reduces the risk of discharges from storm overflows.

*Grey water is the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances.

illustration of three birds in navy

What it’s worth

By committing to water neutrality, developers could potentially save up to £1,800 per property on their connection costs.

The more water efficiency options that a developer signs up to, the larger the discount, with the most ambitious encouraged to achieve water neutrality by also retrofitting water saving devices and fixing leaks in existing homes. This will offset the water that will be used by the new properties meaning there will be no net increase in demand for water in the local area.


Building homes that meet high water efficiency standards is an important step in the right direction and we hope our water efficiency scheme will inspire developers to put water higher up on their planning and design agendas. It aims to help developers introduce alternative water supply technologies and offset their new water demand by making the surrounding existing homes become more water efficient. We can work together to make new homes become water neutral and help reduce existing customers’ bill at the same time.”

Andrew Tucker Head of Demand Management, Thames Water

This is a fantastic scheme and I urge developers to take Thames Water up on it - these discounts mean new houses waste less water and cost less to build."

Nicci Russell Managing Director, Waterwise