water drops and whirl

Difference between municipalities exceeds 376 euros per year.

Amarante and Fundão are the municipalities where annual consumption of 120 m3 and 180 m3, respectively, is the most expensive in the country. Between the most expensive and the cheapest municipality, the difference is more than 376 euros.

At a time when the average price of water is expected to rise by 8.5% in 2024, Deco Proteste has analyzed all supply, sanitation and solid waste tariffs nationwide. In the analysis, the organization concluded that between the most expensive and cheapest municipality, when annual consumption is 120 cubic metres (m3), there is a difference of 376 euros in the price of water. In cases where a family’s annual consumption is 180 m3, this disparity between municipalities increases to 625.73 euros.

With regard to annual consumption of 120 m3 – or 120,000 liters per year – the municipality of Amarante comes in first place as the most expensive, with an average annual bill of 470.13 euros, followed by Oliveira de Azeméis with 468.68 euros and Trofa with an annual bill of 467.25 euros. Making up the rest of the top 5 are Baião and Celorico de Basto with an average annual price for water consumption of 453.32 euros and 451.10 euros, respectively.

As for annual consumption of 180 m3, Fundão has the most expensive bill, averaging 751.64 euros. In Oliveira de Azeméis and Santa Maria da Feira the average annual price is 684.10 euros and 682.82 euros, in the same order, while in Celorico de Basto the average annual water bill for these consumptions is 451.10 euros, and in Covilhã the average price is 666 euros.

The consumer protection organization thus concludes that “the gap between tariff structures with different tiers and different unit costs in the various municipalities of the country remains”, a reality that results in “very disparate values” and contributes “to the lack of equity for Portuguese families”.

In addition to the average price of consumption, there are also disparities between municipalities when analyzing the price of water supply. As an example, the organization details that in this matter the difference between two municipalities reaches 205.55 euros for the same consumption of 120 m3 per year, and 341.04 euros for annual consumption of 180 m3.

“The range of variation in costs is around 6 times between the municipalities with the highest and lowest tariffs,” says Deco Proteste.

With regard to the sanitation service, the differences, although they exist, are comparatively less significant. According to Deco Proteste’s analysis, the sanitation service shows differences of 172 euros to 332.40 euros between the municipalities with the lowest and highest tariffs, respectively for consumption of 120 m3 and 180 m3.

“These correspond, respectively, to 14 times more (for a consumption scenario of 120 m3) and 23 times more (for consumption of 180 m3),” says the consumer protection organization.

Deco Proteste calls on the Regulatory Authority for the Water and Waste Sector (ERSAR) to “urgently regulate tariffs through legislation, as well as urgently invest in infrastructure rehabilitation, which, if it doesn’t happen, will exacerbate the current waste of 180 million cubic meters of water per year in Portugal”. Consumer protection also considers it decisive that the application of the social tariff be extended automatically to the three components of the bill: supply, sanitation and solid urban waste.

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