Eau de Paris (EDP) was created to improve the city’s municipal water service, which before 2010 was fragmented and expensive. Benefiting from strong political will, the city of Paris has made water management a major democratic issue, ensuring better managed and cheaper water supplies, as well as an unparalleled environmental strategy.
Before 2010, the Paris Water Department was provided by four entities: two private companies, Suez and Veolia; SAGEP, a mixed economy company using public drinking water infrastructure and a public laboratory in charge of water safety. This situation diluted responsibilities and pushed up the price of water for users. Against this backdrop, and in the belief that water is not a commodity like others, it was decided to remunicipalise the management of Paris’ public water service.
Since January 1st, 2010, Eau de Paris has been ensuring the entire production and distribution cycle from source to tap. Today, EDP produces and distributes on average 170 million cubic meters of drinking water per year for 3 million users.
In the first year, structural savings of around € 30 million were realized and the decision was made to lower the price of water by 8%. As of January 1, 2019, this price is still lower than it was before 2010. EDP also guarantees a concrete right to water through partnerships with donors and social workers to help the most disadvantaged households. And for people with no access to water, a network of more than 1000 free public fountains in public spaces (roads, parks and gardens) has been provided, in cooperation with organizations supporting homeless people and refugees.
As a fully committed operator for sustainable development, EDP has also adopted environmental management practices in all the natural areas it manages and helps many farmers put in place sustainable farming practices that help preserve water quality.
In 2018, for the seventh year in a row, the company was awarded the Customer Service of the Year award, in recognition of the quality of service provided to its subscribers.
“A dramatic example of a municipal authority resolving a problematic and worsening situation regarding water supply by replacing corporate control with a new city-wide water commons. This has supported a holistic approach to water management across the city, engaging and generating tangible and well-documented benefits for many different groups in the city, with ecological and social benefits given high priority and realised in multiple ways.”
– Tom Henfrey
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