Price of water in Serbia to grow in the next five years

In the next five to six years, the price of water in Serbia should reach approximately 1.35 EUR per cubic metre which means that the water bill for certain households will double or even triple.

This is what the Water Management Strategy until 2034 stipulates. The Strategy is supposed to be adopted by the year end. Higher water price is also something that the World Bank (WB) has requested, claiming that the price of water in Serbia is not economically justified. The future price per cubic metre should stand at around 1.35 EUR (or 165 Dinars) while, today, the price of water in certain municipalities is less than 50 Dinars.

The result of this is that Serbia doesn’t have enough funds to invest in water supply and channeling which is crucial for securing good quality of drinking water.

According to the World Bank, Serbia needs between at least 200 and 300 million EUR annually for this purpose while the country currently spends between 100 and 150 million EUR.

The Strategy also stipulates Serbia investing 8.5 billion EUR by 2034 in improving the water supply infrastructure, water channeling and flood, torrents and erosion protection.

At the moment, local authorities determine the water prices in their areas, in line with the relevant law. The price methodology does exist but, regardless, certain local authorities charge for water much less than others and this difference in price sometimes stands at 70 Dinars per cubic metre.

According to the former president of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, Saša Paunović this is due to local self-governments’ “ignorance, negligence or political reasons”.

A World Bank representative, David Michod said that the bank had analyzed over 400 utility companies in the Danube region and concluded that water utility companies in Serbia had much more employees than their counterparts in the EU.

“Also, Serbia is not the poorest country in the region, yet it has one of the lowest water prices”, Michod said and added that the town of Subotica was close to charging an economically justified price for water and that the average family there spent only 2% of its family budget on the water bill.

(Blic, 06.09.2016)

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