A PRESSURE group has hit out at a rise in water bills.
They have gone up 9% this year and will go up by 3.9% above inflation until 2010.
The extra cash is needed to pay for a £1.5bn programme to improve sewers, water mains and service.
But Water Voice says the increase is high.
Spokesman Andrew Marsh said: "These increases will already be landing on people's doormats.
"It is a lot of money over a long period and people on low or fixed incomes will struggle.
"The improvements need to be done and a lot still needs to be done. But such large amounts will worry consumers.
"Because these companies are private there is no public money available. We disagree with this.
"For example, where coastlines or beauty spots are being cleaned up why should that not be funded by public money?"
Kevin Whiteman, chief executive of the Kelda Group, which owns Yorkshire Water, said: "It may be a decade since the drought, but for some of our customers we are very much aware that we are still on probation.
"No-one likes being asked for more money, particularly those who already find it a challenge to make ends meet."
Yorkshire Water, which in 2004 was named Utility Company of the Year, says the rise in bills is needed to continue improvements.
A spokesman defended the increases and said customers would see huge benefits.
"It has been 10 years since the drought. Since then, the company has cut leaks from its mains network by 40%.
"Incidents of sewer flooding have more than halved and there has been a consistent improvement in the quality of effluent discharged from the sewage system into rivers and the sea," he added.
"In all, the company has spent £667m on restoring or replacing 5,600 kilometres of mains over the past 10 years and a further £215m on repairing or replacing 133 kilometres of the sewer network."
He also said independent tests rated water quality at an all-time high in 2004.