TapFor a long time I've had this feeling we were being over charged for our water and wanted to get a water meter to prove it. Unfortunately I didn't get one straight away as I'd read that it's not always possible to get a water meter installed in a flat.

That changed several months ago when I noticed a "We tried to read your water meter" card on the door step outside the flat below us and I thought: "Wait a minute!! Our neighbour has a water meter, so there should be no good reason why we can't get one". So I came upstairs and logged a request with Thames Water for a water meter to be installed.

Within a week Thames Water had called and arranged for an engineer to visit to assess whether it was feasible to get a water meter. A few weeks after the call, an engineer popped round, did a quick assessment, took photos and confirmed a meter could be installed. He then pulled out his phone and arranged for the meter to be installed and I got an installation date of 2 May 2012 - less than two weeks after his assessment - before he left.

2 May arrived and a different engineer visited to install the meter. A little over an hour later we had a nice shiny new water meter with a zero reading. Now it was just a matter of time to see if we would actually save any money, and if so, how much. The engineer installing the meter said it would be quite a saving but I wanted to see it for myself.

Well, last week I took the meter reading for the first time and our reading was a "whopping" 4m3. Yes FOUR!! I was shocked and very very pleased. For years Thames Water have been guessing that the two adults living in our two bedroom flat were using 188m3 of water a year. That's 180 000 litres a year or 15 000 litre (15m3) a month!!! There's no way on earth Claire and I were using that much water, we're hardly home during the day, we very rarely have baths and generally shower at work or the gym so in order to get anywhere close to 15m3 we'd have to go to do a lot of clothes washing and so many number ones and twos it wouldn't be healthy.

Now lets assume this month's reading was a bit on the low side and lets assume we use 5m3 a month on average. That's a total of 60m3 for the year. TWO THIRDS less than Thames Water has been guesstimating for years.

Now the only thing I'm not sure about it when they'll sort out the billing and direct debit side of things. I submitted this month's reading the day after the direct debit was taken. I'll give them a bell tomorrow to find out.

I'm very pleased we've now got a water meter and will be saving an absolute fortune on our water bills in future. If you don't have a water meter already, I urge you to get one as soon as possible. You'll save yourself an absolute fortune, unless you frivolously waste water, and at the same time help save water, which believe it or not, is currently a precious commodity on this soggy island on which we live.

So go on, call you water company now.