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In the past, houses in Spain had some of the cheapest water in the EU, but that no longer applies; and as drought becomes more probable, reducing use by charging more will be more likely. So, whilst bathing or showering with a friend is OK for occasional fun, the water invoice is likely to put a ‘dampener’ on proceedings.

The seller of a house must supply the buyer and Survey Spain during their Building Condition Inspections, with recent water bills paid to the utility company. These must be supplied as part of their marketing, along with the electricity invoice, Energy Certificate (CEE) and Title Extract (Nota Simple), and not just at the notary signing.

euro coins falling into water

That’s all very well, but how does one make sense of the water factura?

  1. Check the period of the invoice, monthly, every two months, or quarterly (trimestral), and the total quantity of water used. This can be in cubic metres (m3) or L/c/d (Litres per person per day). 1 m3 = 1,000 litres per day. Try to get a number of invoices, so that the seasonal use can be judged. In colder areas, filling the pool in late Spring after draining it in the Autumn, can make a major difference, and evaporation over the Summer will increase the use, which will be much worse if there are leaks.
  2. Accurate figures per household are difficult to calculate as the main statistics vary considerably by Region, and include water used for golf courses and the like. As a result, Costa del Sol has a very high average within Andalucía, whilst Rioja’s is very low! • Water usage: per capita daily consumption by region in Spain 2014 | Statista. Apparently, water use overall has been reducing as people and companies become more aware of the need for economy in use.
  3. Always check the start and finish figures on the meter, as errors can occur and these are rarely in favour of the consumer!
  4. The water invoice is split into different ‘Bloques’, with each one applying a different cost depending on the amount of water, cubic metres (m3), used over the 2 or 3 month period of the invoice. Note that the longer the period, the higher will be the invoice!!
  5. As water is used, the cost per m3 moves up from one Bloque to the next.
    • One Acosol invoice looked at recently showed the first 4 m3 charged at 0.42€ euro per m3, whilst the last Bloque for anything over 37 m3 was charged at 1.66€ euro per m3, four times more.
  6. Waste water is also charged on a similar Bloque basis, though at different rates.
    • As waste is not metered, we assume that it is calculated as a % of the water consumed. In addition, there are fixed charges, just for the connection.
  7. So, reducing the amount of water consumed will make financial sense.
    • Collect the water off the roof by gutters, drains and underground tanks, which can be used for irrigation. This is also vital to reduce rising damp in the building.
    • Install an easily applied cover over the pool to reduce evaporation when it’s not being used.
    • Within the house, a ‘water saver’ that mixes air with water can greatly reduce the amount of water used, with no obvious detraction to the user.
    • For larger properties, having a well is tempting, but these are strictly licenced, and quantity controlled, to avoid the overuse and potential for pollution of the underground aquafers.
    • Every few months, turn off everything that could be consuming water, and check that the water meter has also stopped. If not, there could be a leak.
    • Water purifiers, to remove dissolved limestone (Cal), will reduce blockage of pipes, taps and appliances.
    • Water filters on mains supply for drinking water, are much more practical and cheaper than carrying in large plastic bottles, with that plastic then having to be recycled or added to landfill.

As the private and Community pools open for use now that the air is becoming warm, anything to cool down the water bill must be good.