Water to be given minimum price

A SCALE of charges, which will determine the minimum and maximum price that can be charged for water by the managers of the supply system in Portugal, is currently being prepared by the Ministry for the Environment.

The matter is still being studied but, according to a report in the Correio da Manhã newspaper, sources say that the minimum price for domestic consumption will be around 40 cents per cubic litre of water. Already, the maximum price cannot rise above 1.30 euros. The objective of this measure, which should be put into place before the summer, is to ensure fair and equal criteria are applied.

The government also aims to combat the debts owed by councils to Águas de Portugal, the country’s water supply authority, amounts that are over 170 million euros. “We are dealing with a very high amount, a situation that is causing difficulties for the company,” said Martins Soares, spokesperson for the board of Águas de Portugal.

With regard to the creation of the referred scale of charges, Soares confirmed that this is the intention of the government, but declined to discuss any figures. “The objective is to move towards a set tariff, so that there will be justice in what concerns the forfeit of investment. If a council has a price band of 10 cents, it does not make sense that it receives the same support as another council that has been paying one euro per cubic litre,” he said.