Water & Waste services guide

When thinking about living abroad, it is important to learn about the quality of the water in that country or how to install and benefit from this public service. Join us in the first article Guide from a brand new series about Utilities in Portugal and find out more about how our country operates this indispensable service in our daily lives.



WATER DISTRIBUTION & TREATMENT NETWORK

In Portugal, we have a well-developed drinking water distribution and sanitation network, in which quality checks are carried out regularly (by ERSAR), achieved in part thanks to past substantial EU funds. Nevertheless, sanitation in some isolated rural areas that are less populated remain relatively low with some people still in need to resort to their own private water sources.


MANAGING ENTITIES

Water services in Portugal are a shared responsibility between the 308 municipalities and the public holding company Águas de Portugal (AdP) and its subsidiaries. Because water supply is managed at a local level, you can’t choose your provider since they change depending on your area of residence.


In order to find out which supplier is managing the area where you choose to live, simply contact that municipality or search each Municipality Operator here.


CONNECTION TO THE PUBLIC WATER AND WASTE NETWORK

Properties, whether residential or industrial, must always (when possible) be connected to the public water and sanitation network. Should your new property not have a water connection, then you will need to sort this with your local provider.


FAQs on connection to the public network:

Am I obliged to connect to the public water supply and/or wastewater sanitation network?

Can I demand the provision of water services if the public network is more than 20 meters from the boundary of my property?

Can I use a borehole to supply my home?

Can I use a septic tank to reject wastewater from my home?

Can I use a home composting system to dispose of organic waste from my home?

REQUESTING WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION

Any person or company occupying a building, house or factory, for example, may request the supply of water. To simplify the process of setting up a contract, we explain the most common necessary steps below:

  1. Find who the local provider is and contact them directly to set up your account.

  2. You must gather the information required to set up the water supply contract. The contract can be done in person (best option), via Customer Service Line, by letter, fax and in some cases directly in the providers website. Usually you need to provide the following information / documents: - Identity Proof Identity Card, Citizen's Card, Passport, Driving License or Taxpayer Card; - Occupant Identity Proof (proof that you are allowed to occupy the property) Any of the following documents: Rental Agreement, Lease Deed, Freelease Agreement, Property Title Certificate, Deed of Sale and Purchase, Contract Commitment of Sale and Purchase or Conveyance of Business Lease, in which case, it is necessary to indicate the Land Registry Article and the fraction or Owner Identification (Name and Tax Number); - NIF Number (Personal Tax Number in Portugal) - Portuguese Bank Account - Customer's Signature (by the customer or his legal representative)

  3. If you prefer to use the website or send a letter or fax, you will be contacted afterwards by to confirm the data you have supplied and arrange for the technicians to visit the address (if necessary). After the technicians’ visit to the address you will receive the water supply contract at the address you gave. Return the signed contract version to the provider without delay, together with a copy of proof of identity of the occupant.

  4. Following signature of the supply contract, the provider installs the meter. If a meter is already installed, it is necessary to read it.

Keep in mind: The water services contract must be must be registered with the property occupant's name, unless by mutual agreement a third party intends to assume the expenses (for example, in a rental situation where the landlord includes all utility monthly costs in the rent payments).


FAQs on water and sanitation services contracts:

Am I obliged to pay any debts when concluding a previous contract for water and waste services?

Do I have to provide a deposit to set up a water supply contract?

When should I consider water and waste services contracted?

How can I terminate the contract for water and waste services?


PAYMENT AND BILLING

Water bills in Portugal are typically issued every two months. Usually, Portuguese pay a fixed estimated metered amount for the water consumption, but the price may differ if water usage is greater or less than usual. You can pay in many ways and platforms including direct debit, Homebanking and Multibanco ATMs. Bills are adjusted when a meter reading is provided, so is important to take your own readings.


METER READINGS

The meter readings are used to calculate the volumes of water consumed.


Readings made by the provider:

Technicians must get access to the meter every six months by the costumer. The scheduled date of the next meter reading is usually stated on the previous Water Bill.


Readings made by the Costumer:

In between readings made by the provider, the customer may report the meter reading before the due date stated on the Water Bill. This can be done via the providers website site, myAQUA® App or the providers Meter Readings contact Line.


TERMINATE CONTRACT

You must give your provider at least 3 days’ notice of your intention to terminate the contract. You can terminate the contract in person or via website, letter or fax, stating:

  • Latest Meter reading;

  • Property address and date for which you want to terminate the contract and have the water cut off;

  • Customer’s name and Customer Account number;

  • Address to which the final Water Bill should be sent;

If you move home and fail to inform your provider, you will continue to be responsible for the bills at the old address.


IMPORTANT: The customer must be present at the address on the termination date. If the water cannot be cut off because we are unable to gain access to the address, the termination will not be valid and the customer will continue to be responsible for the bills at that address.


COMPLAINING ABOUT WATER SERVICES

You can complain about water and sanitation services by using:


DRINKING WATER QUALITY

Portugal has maintained a very positive evolution with regard to the quality of drinking water and in the number of mandatory analyzes carried out for control purposes. Let’s Talk numbers: in Portugal 93% of households have access to drinking water at home (97% in urban areas, but only 50% in rural areas) and 76% of families have access to sewage connections.

So to answer the question, CAN YOU DRINK TAP WATER IN PORTUGAL?

Yes! The tap water quality is excellent in Portugal, making it a reference at European level.

Click on the image to check the Geographic distribution of the percentage of safe water by municipality according to the 99% target


WATER CHARACTERISTICS Savvy insight Be aware of smell, taste, color and turbidity


Almost every tap water is considered drinkable. However, in certain cases you can detect smell, taste, color or even turbidity in the water, which can create a false perception that is not safe for consumption. These characteristics can have several causes:

  • Natural Minerals in water;

  • ​Treatment processes used to make water drinkable;​

  • ​Maintenance work on the public network;​

  • Degradation of the plumbing of our house or property;

Some of the most common situations are described below :

White or cloudy color

Brown or reddish color

Chlorine smell or taste

WATER HARDNESS

Water is considered hard when there are significant amounts of dissolved salts, mainly calcium or magnesium and soft when it contains small amounts.


Hard water may not dissolve soap, detergents or shampoos well, presenting greater difficulty in foaming, and may more easily cause limescale deposits on equipment (easily removed with a white vinegar solution). For washing machines, there are anti-limescale tablets on the market that are added to the detergent and prevent the formation of these deposits. Click on the map and see the classification of the hardness of public supply water by Municipality in Portugal.


 

Hope this article was helpful, any questions you might have feel free to contact us! We are always available at contact@savvycatrealty.com if you need any assistance ;)

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