The price of water

Published in 14 de September de 2018

Do you know the elements that condition the water bill?

Water is a free raw material, so what do we pay with the invoice? The public service that is done. This consists on capturing water, the treatment plants, distributing it by maintaining the pressure and quality twenty-four hours a day, and evacuating it through the sewage system to be treated on treatment plants and, finally, to return it to the natural environment for its preservation and reuse.

This collection, treatment, distribution and purification cycle requires human, technical, material and financial means that are included in the final price of the receipt of water.

These treatments, considered in economic terms as fixed costs, are very high and represent between 60 and 80% of the price of the invoice.

What and who marks the price of water?

The price of water varies between countries, regions and municipalities and can range from a few cents to more than seven euros, as in the case of Denmark. These differences are based mainly on the conditions of exploitation of water, for example, water quality conditions the complexity of the treatment, or geographic conditions determine the complexity of the distribution networks and the energy cost of pumping.

In addition, the price is subject to two levels of approval, the place that falls on the town councils, and a second level that corresponds to the Generalitat through the organ of the Commission of Prices of Catalonia.

In the water world, there are several forms of billing, as well as a great diversity of rates in the different municipalities and territories.

How is our invoice calculated?

As for the municipalities in which Aigües de Manresa works, the concept of water service is generally invoiced a variable part, which is based on the actual consumption carried out, and a fixed quota, independent of consumption.

The price of the variable part is usually expressed by sections of consumption (blocks), at a reduced price in a first tranche, and will increase progressively in the following four sections. In these same terms, the concept called Water Canon also appears, which is applied on behalf of the Catalan Water Agency. This concept has a minimum of 18 m3 and four sections of consumption with very progressive prices.

It is also common to include the fixed concept of conservation and sewerage, which is a percentage and based on the concept of water.

The invoice shows all the costs that make up the water cycle, from capture to purification. And to all these concepts, Iva’s taxation must be added.

How can we adjust our invoice?

The sections of consumption, both of the water service and of the canon, are extended if there is more than three people living in the house, so it is essential that the statement of the inhabitants be made, if this happens, it could be a significantly lowering on the total cost of the invoice.

In the municipalities managed by Aigües de Manresa, there is also a customized social tariff that applies to subscribers with low resources, which represents a significant reduction. In the case of Manresa, this reduction is 66% of the domestic rate.

When talking about the price of water if it is expensive or cheap, it will always depend on the perception of each one of us, but studies that analyze the effort that costs them citizens to pay the water bill with respect to their Relative rent, they tell us that Spain is the second country in less effort, just surpassed by Italy, quite the opposite of what happens with other services such as gas or electricity.

Joan Flotats, economic and financial director of Aigües de Manresa