Portugal: Results of water study presented in Lisbon

On the 17th of November the Portuguese Large Families Association presented a study about water rates and its discrimination throughout the country. The study determinates that there are important district discriminations but also inequality based on the family size. In fact, the consumption does not take in account the number of people living in the same house, only the amount of water spent. This situation leads to an alarming fact: The same glass of water can cost up to 7 times more in a large family house compared to a single family house.

The aim of this study conducted by APFN is a comprehensive analysis of the rates/fees applied by municipalities and the proposition of a different approach, based in a per capita logic. Rates need to balance all aspects of sustainability, such as social (how many people are consuming, fair and equitable distribution of costs to customers), economical (viable fiscal stability) and environmental (resources conservation).

Although there are some family water tariffs, most of them are still not adequate nor efficient. Families are largely penalized according to this study, particularly large families.

The main conclusions of the study were:

1) Portuguese families are discriminated due to their size, with substantial differences in the price per liter of water in the same municipality in comparison with single families with the same per capita consumption. In fact, the bigger the family is, the bigger the inequity.

2) Families are discriminated according to the region in which they live, because there are also significant differences in the price of water between municipalities;

3) Although more than half of Portuguese municipalities use family tariffs, the results are very different and do not always correct the injustice of tariffs.