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Water Costs on the Rise Across Western Europe

Water Costs on the Rise Across Western Europe

The world’s water resources are scarce. Continuous growth of the global population and the resulting increased demand, combined with the effects of pollution and climate change, have made them even more so. And when a resource is scarce, it becomes more costly. A responsible approach to the use and management of water is essential to cut down on costs and contribute to a sustainable future.

 

An increase in demand when resources are limited means that water prices will go up. It also means that water companies all over the world are obliged to invest in production and infrastructure, costs that will have to be covered as well. But with water, those increases are not automatically reflected in the water price.

 

Setting the Price of Water

‘Affordability of water services is crucial to realising the human right to water and sanitation,’ says EurEau, the European Federation of National Associations of Water Services, in their 2020 report The governance of water services in Europe. ‘However, if the price for water services is kept artificially low, the costs of maintaining the infrastructure will have to be covered through taxes or transfers or further postponed.’

And it’s also about promoting the conservation of water and working toward a sustainable future. The European Union’s Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change states that the ‘European Commission and the Member States must promote the transition to water-saving technologies and practices by setting a price that correctly reflects the value of water.’ If water is more expensive, it is expected that people will use it more responsibly.

 

Costs Across Europe

For the real estate sector, the combined cost of the water supply, heating water and the sanitation system is already one of the biggest costs of property management, even in countries where the cost of water is almost negligible. And the costs of water in Europe are the highest in the world.

The 2021 Global Water Tariff Survey shows that over the last 5 years, tariffs have steadily increased across Western Europe. In Finland, the price has gone up more than 6% – from €3,70 to €3,93 per m3. For its neighbor Sweden, the increase was even bigger: almost 15% from 2017 to 2021.

According to the International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities (IB-NET), the annual water bill for a household in Norway has increased by more than 60% from 2009 until 2018,. In Slovakia, it rose with more than 400% between 2003 and 2013.

 

Using Water Responsibly

With the increasing water scarcity and surges in costs, whether reflected directly in annual water bills or indirectly through taxes or in other ways, the importance of saving water is undeniable. Focusing on the responsible use and management of water is essential to cut back on your real estate portfolio’s costs and help contribute to a sustainable future.

Want to find out what you can do to cut down on water costs and do your part for a sustainable future? Contact us at info@smartvatten.com!