Water consumption

How should you react to a water leak in your house ? What will happen if you don't pay your water bill ?

Update: July 2017

Unusual over-consumption of water: act quickly to avoid a huge bill

Since summer 2013, a legislative framework aims at improving the situation of the water distribution service users, who are facing an increase in their bill due to a water leak or to a counter dysfunction.

Indeed, the increase is considered abnormal as soon as the volume of drinking water exceeds, since the last consumption data, the double of the average consumed volume. Three cases are to be considered:

  1. You find out that the abnormal consumption on your water bill probably results from a leak. You can ask for the capping of the amount of your bill, provided that you had the leak repaired within one month after reception of your bill and that you sent to your water distribution service a certificate from the firm that repaired the leak. This certificate must mention the location and the date of repair.
  2. If it is not possible to localize the leak, you need to contact your water distribution service within this same deadline of one month so that it can check the proper functioning of your counter. The surplus shall be paid only if the increase is not due to a dysfunction.
  3. If your water distribution service notices an abnormal consumption given your meter reading, they have to inform you by any means, at the latest when sending your water bill. If the increase is caused by a leak, you do not need to pay the surplus as long as you have sent a certificate mentioning the repair of the leak to your water distribution service. This certificate must be provided within one month from the date of receipt of your bill.

If you are unable to settle the dispute with your water distribution service, you can contact the French alternative dispute resolution body for water (“Médiateur de l’eau”). More information on alternative dispute resolution in France.

Unpaid water bills

Since March 2013, no French household can be deprived of water supply, even in case of non-payment of the water bill. Any water supplier is forbidden to cut off or to reduce the water supply, regardless of the household’s resources. The right to be supplied with water no matter what only applies to main residences, meaning that not paying the water bill for your holiday home allows the company to cut off the supply.  

The ban on water cuts doesn’t imply the cancellation of your debt. In fact, the subscriber still owes to pay the bill.

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