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Legislation for water overconsumption: Warsmann Law in France

In France, it is estimated that 20 to 25% of drinking water is lost through leaks. These leaks, in addition to having catastrophic ecological consequences, also have a very high cost. It is in this context and in order to protect subscribers of the drinking water network that the legislator adopted the Warsmann law on 17 May 2011. This text allows individuals to contest their bill and request a ceiling on their bill when the overconsumption is due to a leak in the drinking water network. The law also requires the distributor to notify subscribers in the event of a leak.

When do we talk about overconsumption of water?

The Warsmann law qualifies overconsumption when the consumption exceeds twice the average consumption calculated over the last three billing years. Below these three years, consumers are not entitled to a refund.

How does the Warsmann law apply?

After receiving a letter from your water distributor informing you of abnormal consumption, one month is given to make the legislation work. It is necessary to meet the following four criteria:

  1. You must be a private individual and make the request for a dwelling that is occupied on a primary or secondary basis.
  2. The water leak must be located after the meter (under the responsibility of the subscriber), on a private drinking water pipe, including pipes and related accessories (fittings, elbows, joints, etc.).
  3. The leak must be repaired by a professional plumber as soon as the information is received, or within one month.
  4. The certificate from the plumbing company that carried out the repair, showing the date of repair of the water leak and its location must be provided to the water distributor.

The Warsmann law also specifies that the water service may be required to carry out on-site checks.

Although the conditions of application of the law are fairly simple to understand, it is important to recognise that the process could be refused if ;

  • The supporting documents are sent out of time;
  • The volume of water consumed is less than twice the usual consumption over three years;
  • The premises are commercial or professional;
  • The customers are wholesale buyers, or are supplied for watering or irrigation;
  • The loss is on sanitary equipment (toilet flushing, etc.), heating equipment (water heater) or household equipment (washing machine, etc.).

What is new in Belgium?

In the Belgian Walloon region, similar legislation is implemented by the Water Code Art. D.229bis which provides for a preferential tariff under the following conditions:

  • The abnormal increase in drinking water consumption results from a hidden leak;
  • The customer provides the distributor with either a copy of the paid invoice from a repair company, complete with photographs before and after the work is done, attesting to the repair of the leak;
  • The abnormal consumption is calculated over a three-year period.

If these conditions are met, the excess water consumption is calculated as the difference between the consumption recorded on the meter reading and the customer’s average consumption over the previous three years.

In Brussels, the revision of the two ordinances governing water supply was accepted on 1st December. This occurs in a context where the water provider Vivaqua decided to remove the freezing of water prices. In response to this decision, strong social measures are being implemented. From 2022, water cuts to domestic users will be prohibited. The social intervention in the price of water will also be introduced.

How to avoid leaks in buildings?

One in three buildings has costly leaks every year, and these leaks typically account for 10-40% of water consumption in residential buildings, but only 5% of leaks are detected. These leaks can be detected manually. If the meter is running while the equipment taps are closed there is a leak. To avoid manually recording water consumption for each of your buildings, think about real-time remote water monitoring! Shayp can help you do this and avoid undetected leaks.

Find out how Shayp can help you avoid water leaks here!

For more info, contact the experts at Shayp here:

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