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Money & Finance

Water and Drainage Charges in France

Friday 04 September 2020

Domestic drinking water and mains drainage charges in France average nearly €500 a year.

Water and drainage services in France are provided locally, either through the local commune or through an inter-communal body.

In most cases local parishes have responsibility for drainage services, whilst an inter-communal body runs water services. Under government plans, by 2026 both services will be under the tutelage of the intercommunalité.

At a national level, there are also six mainland statutory water agencies, responsible for management of water capacity and pollution control, as show on the graphic below.

According to the latest report from the government agency Observatoire des services publics d’eau et d’assainissement, the average charge for water and drainage services is €4.08/m³*

That figure comprises €2.05/m³ for drinking water, and €2.03/m³ for mains drainage services.

Those household who do not have mains drains (as is the case in nearly 10,000 communes) do not pay the drainage charge, although they need to pay for regular emptying and servicing of their septic tank and any statutory inspections that may be carried out.

On the basis of those charges, the average household bill for water and drainage service works out at €490 a year, or around €41 a month, using annual water consumption of 120m³.

The charges are made up of a fixed and a variable part and include taxes which average 23% of the total charge.

Inevitably there are geographic differences, with the highest combined charges in Brittany (€4.82/m³) and Hauts-de-France (€4.60/m³). Charges are lowest in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’azur (€3.58/m³) and Grand Est (€3.81/m³).

The highest charges by water basin are in Artois Picardie, averaging €4.50/m³. The lowest is Rhône Méditerranée, averaging €3.69/m³.

In addition, charges are generally lower than the regional average in smaller parishes.

Nevertheless, these different charges do not necessarily reflect the bills faced by households each year, which depend on actual consumption.

Thus, although charges in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’azur may be the lowest, households in the region pay a total bill of upwards of €600 a year. Bills are similarly high in the Ile-de-France. Conversely, in Grand Est bills average around €450 a year.

The graphic below shows the boundaries of each of the water agencies, which do not correspond to any other administrative boundary.

*1st Jan 2018 (latest figures)

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