Portimão residents hit by water price hike  

AS FROM April this year, the price of water will increase by around 17 per cent in the borough of Portimão, according to the new tariff already approved by the Câmara. However, it is not only water that will cost more, there are also plans to double the price charged for sewage treatment during the course of this year.

According to the new water tariff, the Empresa Municipal de Águas e Resíduos de Portimão (EMARP), the council owned water and waste treatment company, will charge domestic customers, using between six and 15 cubic litres of water, a rate of 0.75 euros per cubic metre per month, instead of the current price of 0.64 euros. For companies with a consumption level of less than 150 cubic litres, the monthly price will increase from 1.07 euros to 1.25 euros per cubic metre.

According to EMARP, “the average domestic customer will pay around 1.10 euros extra per month (based on an average consumption of eight cubic metres), while non domestic clients will pay around 4.75 euros extra (based on usage of 31 cubic metres). EMARP is justifying the price hike as being due to the company’s increased costs and the law stating that prices charged for services supplied by councils must meet the costs incurred.

But there is more bad news in store for the people of Portimão, for while the average domestic customer is currently being charged 0.32 euros per cubic metre for the treatment and disposal of sewage, EMARP intends to alter the tariff and charge 0.64 euros for the same service, or in other words, double the current amount. According to EMARP, a new water treatment station will shortly be built in the borough, implying that funds need to be raised to support the cost of installing the equipment.

Meanwhile, Macário Correia, president of the Associação de Municípios do Algarve, the association for Algarve councils, says that the trend is for water charges to increase across the region in order for the Câmaras to be able to cover their costs.

However, the question on everyone’s lips must be, “why can’t prices be increased gradually, a little each year, rather than suddenly by large percentages?”