Price differences for water, sanitation and waste can amount to 1,500 euros per year

The price differences in water, sanitation and waste services between the 308 Portuguese municipalities, in the case of a family of 10 people, amount to 1,500 euros per year for the same consumption, according to a published study this Thursday.

Promoted by the Portuguese Association of Large Families (APFN), the Study of Basic Services results from the analysis of tariffs for water supply, sanitation and waste, practiced on the 31st of October 2023 in all Portuguese municipalities, including the islands, concluding that “there is a great lack of equality in the price of these services”.

In statements to the Lusa agency, the person responsible for the study, Filipa Baker, highlighted that there is “a great injustice in terms of prices” charged for these three basic services in Portugal, explaining that the analysis is carried out “from two perspectives”, the family size and the tariffs of the 308 Portuguese municipalities.

“Larger families, in general, end up paying a higher price per cubic meter of consumption than if they lived in a smaller family”, said Filipa Baker, noting that most water supply tariffs are tiered. in order to penalize waste, but without taking into account the number of people in the household, “strongly penalizing large families”.

In water supply, which is the “most expensive service for families”, national differences in the total annual bill can amount to 1,500 euros for the same consumption, “for example, if a family of For 10 people living in Lajes das Flores, in the Azores, they pay 53.52 euros/year, but if they live in Tábua, Santa Comba Dão or Mortágua the value is set at 1,596.67 euros/year “.

Regarding sanitation, the price discrepancy is “close to 1,000 euros”, comparing the case of a family of 10 people living in Mortágua (40.22 euros/year) with that of one living in Covilhã (1,027.31 euros/year).

As for the solid waste service, the APFN study identified a difference of 400 euros/year for the same consumption, in the case of a family of 10 people, which in Sever do Vouga pays 17.20 euros/year, while in Tavira you pay 423.75 euros/year.

According to the study, between municipalities in the same district there are also “huge discrepancies”, particularly in Porto, in the case of a family of 10 members, in the annual invoice referring to the variable component, where in the supply for water if you live in Lousada you pay 128 euros, but in Valongo you pay 1,185 euros; in sanitation it can vary between 97 euros in Matosinhos and 703 euros in Gondomar; and in waste you can benefit from a zero variable tariff in Paredes or Marco de Canaveses, while in Maia you pay 296 euros.

In relation to family composition, the study reveals that “Gondomar is one of the most discriminatory Portuguese municipalities in water supply and sanitation services”, because a person living in a family of seven people pay 3.2 times more monthly for the variable component of water supply and 2.9 times more for sanitation than if they lived alone.

Also in the district of Porto, Póvoa de Varzim is one of the “fairest” Portuguese municipalities in terms of family size, since a couple with six children pays, for each member, the same for water supply, sanitation and waste (variable tariff) than a person living alone.

“Often, in most cases, the size of the family living in the house is not considered” in tariffs, especially in water supply and sanitation, which harms large families, said the person responsible. ible by the Study of Basic Services, arguing that the penalty for waste can be done “considering a fixed consumption per person and not per family”, with the application of the standard monthly international water consumption of 3.6 cubic meters per person for all households.

Filipa Baker also mentioned that the current tariffs are designed to penalize waste in medium-sized families, with three people, but the country, “unfortunately, increasingly has smaller families and more people living in isolation” , and the concept of large family has been applied based on five elements.

In this context, the APFN defends the implementation of family tariffs — 234 municipalities already have them in water supply, 212 in sanitation and 54 in waste –, to correct the “injustice ” in terms of amounts charged, and the reduction of marked disparities in the base price of these basic services, in the sense of “equalizing the situation at country level”, despite there being “many geographical constraints”.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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