After electricity, gas and even insurance, this is another compulsory expense that will increase. Discreetly.

Bad news is piling up for the portfolio and the financial outlook is not bright for households. While everything is increasing, including mainly energy prices, another bill paid by all French people is also seeing its amount increase. However, no one (or almost) talks about it even though it is a mandatory expense.

Along with rent, electricity, gas, fuel and even insurance contracts, water is one of the unavoidable costs. It’s impossible not to have accommodation that is not connected to water. While it is obviously possible to cut costs by reducing consumption, opening the tap less will not necessarily mean saving money in the coming weeks (if this is not already the case).

This doesn’t make the headlines because “the water bill only represents around 0.7% of the household budget”, explains Régis Taisne, head of the “Water Cycle” department at the National Federation of Granting Communities and management (FNCCR). That is to say a much lower share than electricity or fuel. However, the French will pay more for it.

Unlike energy, there is no single price for water in France. It is the local authorities which manage the treatment and distribution, setting their own prices. If the FNCCR has not yet collected all the data from the 10,526 water management bodies existing in France, the increase should be around 5%. As between 2022 and 2023. Thus, the average price per m3 should now be around €4.80.

According to the FNCCR, the average water consumption per home is around 90m3. Based on the future price, this would lead to an increase in the annual bill of €20.51 compared to 2023. If water is managed directly by the intercommunity, the price change must have taken place on January 1st. If it is a company, this could be on the next half-yearly or quarterly invoice, specifies the FNCCR.

However, larger increases could be in effect in certain territories. In 2023, the price of water has been increased by 5 to 50% by a third of the water unions. As for others, prices that are already higher than average are applied, such as in Vienne, Seine-et-Marne or even in Brittany. If the percentage increase is similar, the impact on the bill will be greater.

This increase is explained by “a repercussion of general inflation: energy represents 20% of the budget of sanitation services, the reagents used for treatment have seen increases of 40, 50 and sometimes 100%, then it there is an inflation of the payroll (8.5% of operating costs)”, explains Régis Taisne. The constant addition of standards also requires more in-depth processing, costing more. And yet, “water consumption has been falling for 20 years.”