Household water charges are to rise by 1.6 per cent across all council tax bands this year.

The move, announced by Scottish Water, will mean annual bills going up by around £7 for the average household.

However, those living in properties in the top-rated ‘H’ tax band will see charges going up by £13.68.

The average Scottish Water household charge in 2018/19 will be £363 – £42 less than the figure for properties in England.

Douglas Millican, chief executive of Scottish Water, said: “We continue to deliver one of the best value water and waste water services anywhere in the UK for our customers, who are at the heart of what we do.

“In providing 1.35 billion litres a day of drinking water to communities, our customers benefit from investment in the network required to bring that to their taps, ensure it is safe to use and is as fresh and clear as possible.”

Scottish Water is currently in the middle of a £3.5billion investment programme that is seeing improvements being carried out across the country, including projects in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

The six-year investment is focusing on water treatment works, pipes and networks, with the aim of providing customers with improved service, enhancing the environment and supporting jobs.

Ongoing projects include a major investment in Paisley to improve the water quality and natural environment in two local rivers.

Work is progressing on the £17million project, which involves the construction of a one-mile-long sewer under the town’s streets and the installation of combined sewer overflows (CSO) in the town centre.

So far, six of the 15 shafts required for the project have been constructed and a microtunnel boring machine has excavated the route in between those shafts.

The CSO at Causeyside Street/Forbes Place, opposite Dunn Square, has now been completed.

Scottish Water contractors Amey are also constructing a large diameter interceptor sewer, which starts at Bridge Street car park and makes its way across the Watermill Hotel car park and Lonend before going along Saucel Street, beneath Saucelhill Park and the railway line near Canal Street Station, Espedair Street, Rowan Street and Kilncroft Lane/Neilston Road.

Once completed, the project will reduce the frequency of spills from the sewer network into the Espedair Burn and White Cart Water in storm conditions, improving quality in the two watercourses.

Ruaridh MacGregor, Scottish Water’s corporate affairs regional manager, said: “The technology we’re using on this project is less disruptive than more traditional methods of excavation.”