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Water pays for water

Published January 2012

The supply of drinking water and sanitation services has a cost: the water needs to be transported, treated and distributed and its quality must be ensured. Through their water bills, users bear the majority of the costs to communes and inter-communal groups related to investments and plant running costs. 
In terms of the water agencies, the fi nancial principle used is that of “polluter / user-payer”: “abstraction” and “pollution” taxes are in proportion to the amount of water abstracted and pollutants inputted. Collected by the agencies, these taxes are redistributed in the form of funding to local decision-makers and contracting authorities: municipal areas or area groupings, manufacturers and farmers, in order to fund the programmes they decide to implement to fi ght pollution and manage water resources and aquatic environments. 
Various legislative provisions require the communes or intercommunal groups to ensure access to water and sanitation services for needy individuals and families who may have diffi culty paying their bills (basic right to water and sanitation). Depending on their particular circumstances, the communes fi nd joint solutions for sharing the costs of services between all players thanks to the pooling of resources, equitable rates and solidarity taxes (For more information: ministry of Environment).