Ministers in the UK government have given permission to utility Folkestone and Dover Water to install water meters in the homes of all its customers. The move came after months of poor rains have left the utility’s reserves at dangerously low levels; the compulsory installation of meters is taking place in an effort to encourage conservation and limit water use.

At present most UK households are charged a flat rate for water, based on the rateable value of their property. Utilities suggest that a move to meters, with the resulting ability to charge for actual consumption, will enable them to tackle expected water shortages in the years ahead, but they also acknowledge that this will mean many customers paying more for their water than before.