Study on residential consumption of water in Wallonia

Aquawal, the Wallon association of water operators, has contributed to a new study on water and electricity consumption in Wallonia (Belgium). The study identifies some interesting factors related to consumption patterns and affordability, namely that the price of water does not seem to influence the consumption patterns of households.

In November 2015, Aquawal -the Wallon association of water operators- published a study on the residential consumption of water and electricity in Wallonia, built on a questionnaire answered by over 2000 households. The aim of this study is to provide local decision-makers with accurate information on consumption patterns, especially in relation to tariffs setting.

Between 2009 and 2014, the consumption of tap water for drinking significantly increased while households’ average consumption of tap water for other uses decreased. The study also confirms and actually strengthens an observation already made for both Wallonia and Flanders according to which economies of scale have a large influence in household consumption. Hence, a one-member household consumes on average 113 litres per day whilst one member in a household composed of more than 4 people consumes 62 litres per day, in other words, 40% less.

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The analysis further found that households facing difficulties to pay the water bill, on average, tend to consume more -and not less- than other households. It thus contradicts the common belief that price does have significant influence in consumption patterns of households. This apparent contradiction could be explained by hidden leaks, a lower investment capacity in more water efficient appliances or also the lack of access to alternative water resources, such as rainwater collectors. The study also concludes that those with most difficulties to pay their water bills are typically families with children.

For more information, you can download the study (in French) from the following page.

The study was presented during an event held on the 26th of February that also included presentations from local decision-makers as well as French and Belgian researchers.