Just like most things, people living in the Heart of Europe will see higher prices on tap water going into 2021. Due to a massive drop in water consumption during COVID-19, Prague residents are expected to pay 92.36 Kč per cubic meter of water next year, which is a rise of 7.3% compared to last year. 

Tomáš Mrázek of Prague Waterworks and Sewage (PVK), the company in charge of the city’s water system, says that the country’s capital was more affected by the drop in water consumption than anywhere in the Czech Republic.

“The increase in price mostly because of a huge drop in invoice volumes which regulated costs are calculated from. These will only increase due to inflation. The decline in consumption affected Prague more than anywhere in the country because of COVID-19 driving away all the tourists, commuters, and workers out of Prague, fundamentally reducing all economic activities.”

Prague’s water systems are undergoing some considerable updates which require funding as well, such as the reconstruction of a treatment plant in Podolí which needs to be reconnected to the main system in Prague after it’s done. Plus, maintaining and modernising the system is estimate to cost about 2.4 billion Kč for 2021. 

The city of Prague is, in fact, a minority owner in its own water and sewage system; PVK is on a lease agreement for the infrastructure with a municipal company called Pražská vodohospodářská společnost (Prague Water Management Company), which is majority-owned by a French company called Veolia. Veolia’s primary shareholder is Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation, an investment firm of the French government. 

When the lease agreement ends in 2028, the city of Prague plans on buying back the remaining ownership from the French consortium so that they can own their own water. 

Photo credit: Pražské vodovody a kanalizace