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Tastes & smells

If your water has a funny taste, or smell, there's probably an explanation for it, and it may not be anything to worry about.

Depending on its source, water can taste different

Your water comes from a variety of sources, including rivers, boreholes, wells and springs.

Each of these sources of water can have their own unique taste, or smell, depending on the type and amount of natural minerals it contains. Sometimes we might need to change the source that supplies your home, and this may mean you notice a change to the smell or taste of your water.

In some cases however, the smell or taste could be for other reasons. Many of these problems are due to problems with your internal plumbing, but the good news is they can be fixed quite easily.

Typical smells and tastes...

Some of the more regularly reported smells and tastes are covered below. Depending on the nature of the problem, there may be different ways to identify and fix the cause of the problems.

Chlorine-type smell?

Water smells of Chlorine

We add chlorine to the water at the treatment works to ensure that it is safe to drink. The level of chlorine left in the water when it comes out of your tap is very low and is not harmful to health.

Sometimes a taste or smell of chlorine can become more noticeable, which some people find unpleasant. Keeping water in a covered jug in the fridge should improve the taste and smell.

TCP-type taste?
Earthy or musty?
Like fuel or solvent?


We do not add – and currently have no plans to add – fluoride to the water we supply.

The water we supply naturally contains between 0.1 and 0.3 mg/l (parts per million) of fluoride, which is not removed during treatment. The maximum concentration of fluoride allowed in the water is 1.5 mg/l. There is no minimum limit.

In the past, local health authorities could ask water companies to artificially fluoridate the water supply, but the companies could refuse. Legislation in 2008 gave the authorities the power to compel companies to fluoridate the water supply, after public consultation.

Fluoride is a health issue. We believe that health professionals should make decisions about health measures, not water companies.

Further information about fluoridation can be obtained from:

Health Protection Unit
Rivergate House
2 Rivergate

Telephone (0345 504 8668) or from the drinking water quality regulator, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI).

Where to find help...

If the problem with your water persists, contact us to let us know, or alternatively, we can recommend an approved local plumber.

We can provide help finding an approved plumber, who will be able to help you with your water supply problem.

If you're still experiencing an issue with your water supply let us know, we'll be able to help you resolve the problem.

Need help now?

If you have an unmetered bill and a monthly payment arrangement in place, your annual bill is split over 10 monthly instalments: May to February. We do not take payments in March and April because during these months we generate bills for the forthcoming financial year.

If you have a metered bill and pay by a monthly budget arrangement we can take a payment each month of the year. We will automatically review your payments annually.

To set up a Direct Debit please click here

Charging for water services is a complex matter, involving both the law (primarily the 1991 Water Industry Act) and our economic regulator, the Water Services Regulation Authority, which is referred to as Ofwat.

Your supply is either unmetered or metered, and this normally determines the way we charge for your water supply.

Unmetered – we normally use the rateable value (RV) of your property and calculate the cost for the year in advance

Metered – we normally read the meter twice a year and you pay for the water you actually use

Click here for more detail

If you feel you are struggling to pay your bills, or you feel like you need extra help then please visit our Priority Services page where you can sign up or find out more.

There is no cost to close your account. Depending on the status of your account and any payment arrangement you may have, there could be a final balance to pay. If you're moving and need to tell us about your change of address, please complete this online form. Alternatively contact us on 0345 600 3600

Your bill is due and payable on issue. To pay this online please click here

If you have subscribed to online billing, you will receive an email advising you when you have a new bill. If you are facing problems paying or wish to discuss a payment arrangement to spread the cost, please contact us.

We supply water to 500,000 homes and businesses across Bristol City, North Somerset and areas of Bath, North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire. That's about 1.2m people who have access to our water every day. Wessex Water is responsible for providing sewerage services for the majority of our customers when they've finished using the water.

We also offer a range of alternative payment options for those struggling to pay, to find out more click here

Your property's rateable value is shown on the front page of your unmetered bill. If you have not yet moved into a property and would like to find out the rateable value, please contact us on 0345 600 3600

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