I’m still emerging from that post-Christmas period daze and trying to plan for the year ahead.

I’m sure others feel the same way, which is why I’d like to remind everyone about an important date for your diary: 31 March 2017.

By this date, your organisation must have applied for your water rates exemption. Otherwise you will risk being charged for your water usage.

Last year, we blogged on the changes to the water charge exemption.

Under the new system, charities and community amateur sports clubs must apply each year to the scheme.

scheme has helped more than 7,700 charities and amateur sports clubs save around £4million

This means that even if you applied last year and received an exemption, you must reapply.

Eligible charities registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, as well as community amateur sports clubs with an income of less than £200,000, do not need to pay water and sewerage charges. Those with incomes between £200,000 and £300,000 will pay a reduced rate.

Since 2015, the Water and Sewerage Charges Exemption Scheme has helped more than 7,700 charities and amateur sports clubs to save around £4 million every year. So it’s clear that this is a valuable scheme for the voluntary sector.

Applications can now be made for the 2017-18 scheme and applications for 2016-17 can also continue to be made up until 31st March 2017.

So if you haven’t checked your eligibility, you should! If your application is accepted, you can still receive a full or partial exemption for 2016/7, meaning any payments made for services used from 1 April 2016 will be refunded.

To apply you must contact your Licensed Provider (the company that sends you your water bill) and ask for an application form.

If you are unclear about who your provider is, there is a full list of providers and information available from the Scotland on Tap website.

The water rates exemption can be very valuable for your organisation. So make sure you apply by 31 March and avoid any April showers.

Further information on the exemption scheme is available from the Scottish Government.