In 2018, water bills could rise by 10 to 30 percent.
After an increase in electricity prices which will come into force in October, Croatian citizens can also expect a 10 to 30 percent increase in water prices starting from the beginning of next year. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy has released a proposal to amend the Law on Water Management Financing. The Croatian Water and Wastewater Group reacted immediately with a warning that the provision about water service providers having to pay the water usage fee by the cubic metre of water pumped will mean there will be an increase in prices for end users. This fee is currently paid by end users according to the amount of water consumed, reports Večernji List on September 8, 2017.
Given that the Croatian water system loses massive amounts of water between the source and the end user, about 50 percent, the implementation of the disputed provision has been delayed on several occasions since 2010. The Group states that the water usage fee for 2010 was 0.80 kunas, and today it amounts to 2.85 kunas per cubic meter. They warn that the effect of changing the water user fee payers from end users to water service providers will be reflected on both the expenditure and revenue side.
“The fee will also become taxable, and the 13 percent VAT rate will have to be paid. Consequently, the price of one cubic metre of water for the end user will rise, we estimate by between 10 and 30 percent, without any real impact on improving service or reducing losses,” says the Group which believes the disputed provision of the law would be removed and the current way of calculating the water usage fee retained.
Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy Tomislav Ćorić said there would be no increase in the water usage fee. “We are faced with a problem that about half of the water which goes into the system is lost and does not reach the end user. We have to encourage in every possible way the reconstruction and repair of the water supply network in Croatia,” said Ćorić.
He pointed out that the budget of the Croatian Waters public company would next year appropriate 100 million kunas for the tender for the reconstruction and renovation of the water supply network. The amount will be increased in the following years, in order to significantly reduce the losses in the Croatian water supply system by 2026.
The Ministry says they will intensify consultations with the Group with the aim of defining a model for charging the water usage fee in a way that would stimulate water service providers which have to take measures to reduce losses from the water supply networks they manage and to make these losses come to an acceptable level. The Ministry adds that previous delays in implementation of these obligations did not lead to the reduction in losses in the water supply system, which have actually increased from 46 to 49 percent.
Translated from Večernji List.