The price of water has risen faster than the cost of living over the past decade and is a significant expenditure for households. How and by whom is the price of water fixed? What services correspond to your invoice headings? L’institut national de la consommation (National Consumer Institute) provides you with answers.


The price of water is fixed by the commune.  Your water bill consists of:

  • The cost of collecting, processing and distributing drinking water.
  • The cost of wastewater treatment (sanitation).
  • VAT.
    In most cases, the price of water per cubic meter is the same for everybody, regardless of the volume consumed.

♦ Communes can also choose to apply progressive tariffs, to discourage waste and make the first cubic meters necessary for food and hygiene affordable, but further usage more expensive.

♦ Communes in tourist areas can change their prices according to the season.

The presentation of the invoice is regulated. It consists of three sections:

  • Distribution of water;
  • Collection and treatment of waste water; (collecte et traitement des eaux usées)
  • Organizations. (organismes publics)

♦The section ‘distribution de l’eau’  is made up of several billing areas:

Abonnement‘ Standing charge: this sum, independent of the quantity of water consumed, is used to finance investments, pay salaries etc. This also includes rental and/or maintenance costs for the meter and connection, which may appear on a separate line of the bill.

Consommation‘ Consumption: this line corresponds to the volume of water actually consumed by the subscriber, as recorded on the meter.

Redevance‘: user or licence fee intended for the local water agency for financing preservation of water resources. Its price per cubic meter is fixed by the agency within the legal limits.

♦ The ‘collecte et traitement des eaux usées’ section is the cost of wastewater treatment. It includes a fixed amount (standing charge) and a variable amount calculated on the basis of the subscriber’s actual consumption.

♦ The heading ‘organismes publics’ includes the fees collected on behalf of the local water agency whose mission is to contribute to improving water management, combatting pollution and protecting aquatic environments.

Did You Know?
On average, a Frenchman/woman uses 145 liters of water per day for all domestic activities (drinking, cooking, hygiene, cleaning, …).

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