Friday, April 16, 2021
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Water: the debate over public or private management in France

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Agnès Verdier-Molinié. Director of the Foundation for Research on administrations and public policy (IFRAP)

Is private (really) more expensive than the public in water management and why? In answer to this question, the IFRAP Foundation replies that is that several conditions are absolutely necessary: greater transparency on water pricing, allocation of contracts, regularly renegotiate these, open to competition and compare what is comparable, by making municipalities pay the same charges and taxes as private operators. When all these steps are completed, it will eventually leave a somewhat sterile debate that does not allow the construction of a water market above all suspicion in France.

To start with, here are some figures:

? A cubic meter of water costs an average of 3.62 Euros;

? The average monthly bill per capita is 36 Euros, at the rate of 150 litres per person per day, makes 120 m3 per year in an average household;

? In 2008, the total bill reached 12,000 million Euros (home users and large consumers);

? Of this service, the responsibility of municipalities, 71%is awarded to private operators (80% of contracts are Veolia and Suez) via contracts of delegation of public services, and the rest is managed directly by municipalities;

? In France, there are over 900,000 kilometers of pipelines.

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