PAY may not be rising at all for many people in the Basingstoke area, but sadly the same cannot be said for water bills.

The three companies that serve households in The Gazette area are all increasing their bills from April 1.

South East Water has announced that the average bill for households will increase by £6 per year from April 1.

The company, which provides water to households, but not water waste services, has increased its charges from £195 a year for the average domestic bill to £201 – the equivalent of 2p per day. This three per cent rise is lower than the national average of 3.5 per cent in England and Wales.

The charges are based on historical tariffs agreed with the industry regulator Ofwat.

The firm says the increase in water bills will help fund £91million of investment during the year to improve the network of pipes, pumping stations and treatment works, as well as develop new water resources to help maintain drinking water supplies and to protect them for the region’s growing population.

Steve George, customer services director for South East Water, said: “We believe that an average cost for drinking water of just 55p per day remains excellent value for money, but we do appreciate that some of our customers may be experiencing financial difficulties and so we have measures in place to help those customers facing real hardship.”

Thames Water has announced the biggest rise in water and sewage bills of 5.5 per cent, increasing the annual average bill by £18 to £354. The company provides sewage services to customers who receive their water from South East Water.

And Southern Water has announced an increase of 5.3 per cent for its water and waste water services, raising the cost of the average bill by £23 to £449.