The £50 reduction was first announced in Autumn 2011 and will be implemented from April 2013.
It grew out of the findings of the Walker Review into affordability and charges in the water industry in 2009. This highlighted the historically high level of charges in the South West and in particular recognised the 'unfairness' of three per cent of the population of England and Wales paying for the clean-up of a third of all the country's bathing waters.
Government pledge for action
In 2011, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor all pledged action to tackle the unfairness and special legislation was passed through Parliament in Spring 2012, giving South West Water up to £40 million annually to reduce household bills by £50 from 2013.
Prime Minister David Cameron told the Western Morning News: "I understand the unfairness that people feel in the South West that they are paying a lot of money so that there are clean beaches for people like me from Oxfordshire to come and play on."
An agreement on implementing the reduction was signed by South West Water and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in November 2012. None of the money will be retained by South West Water, it will all be passed onto qualifying customers.
South West Water Chief Executive Chris Loughlin said: "This is a great achievement and thanks to everyone including MPs of all parties, the Consumer Council for Water, pensioner groups and the regional media - especially the Western Morning News - who together with thousands of individual customers have helped make the case alongside us over many years for this reduction."
The Walker Review 2009:
News and reports: