THE GOVERNMENT’S Plano Estratégico de Abastecimento de Água e Saneamento (PEAASAR), water supply and sewerage plan could pave the way for the entry of new water suppliers in the market.
According to the Department of the Environment, private companies will be able to bid for concessions in the water market in Portugal for 10 to 15 years under the new plan.
PEAASAR covers the period between 2007 and 2013 and offers various management solutions to private companies including a ‘high’ model that integrates management of water supplies and a ‘low’ model responsible for distribution to individual households.
This new public private partnership solution would, according to the Minister of the Environment, Francisco Nunes Correia, award low distribution to private companies instead of being solely controlled by Águas de Portugal (AdP) and local authorities.
“This would mean there would not be a state monopolisation of the water system as it would now include the business exploitation of the system, granting concessions lasting from 10 to 15 years to private companies and so freeing up the market,” Correia said.
The state would allow the incorporation of ‘low’ activities, such as domestic distribution in the hands of private companies instead of just local government authorities. The companies would take on the management of the water services on behalf of the municipal authorities.
The lion’s share of the financial investment would be made by câmaras and regional companies run by AdP, while the actual financial exploitation of the retail business would be ceded to private concessions responsible for maintenance, conservation, development and complementary investments.
Public water operators such as AdP and Aguapor will remain in government hands.
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