According to him, the reason is the fact that before the crisis, energy accounted for roughly ten to 12 percent of the cost mix of prices for water and sewage. Now, however, this share has increased to more than 50 percent for those companies that failed to contract energy prices and buy at spot prices.
“The water supply industry is one of the few branches that works against inflation at the moment. Most are keeping the price because they hope that the situation on the energy market will normalize,” said Žák. “However, if it is not possible to cap or subsidize energy prices in some other way, approximately 1.5 to 2 million inhabitants may find themselves in a situation where the price of water and sewage will rise by more than 50 percent,” he said.
The association of the water supply and sewerage sector has 113 regular members who supply drinking water to over nine million inhabitants of the Czech Republic, remove waste water for almost eight million inhabitants and treat 98 percent of this waste water. According to Žák, only about 20 members increased the price of water and sewage during the year.
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In the Czech Republic, decisions on water and sewage are mainly made by representatives of municipalities and cities, which own 90 percent of the water management infrastructure. The student fears that if a municipality decides not to increase water and sewerage, it will be at the expense of funds for infrastructure renewal, which should be a mandatory part of water and sewerage.
“The lifespan is calculated for tens of years, so if it happens in one year, nothing fatal happens, but if it were for a longer period, a bigger problem would arise. In any case, the money withheld in this way must be repaid in time,” said Žák.
Photovoltaics would help
According to him, increasing energy independence could also help water managers, for example thanks to photovoltaic panels or heat pumps. “It is extremely suitable for water managers. We have plots of land and we would be able to consume everything we would produce in this way,” Žák pointed out.
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According to him, the wider implementation of smart solutions is hindered by the current legislation. He stated that the water industry is one of the most regulated in the Czech Republic and does not particularly motivate operating companies to install, for example, photovoltaic panels. “When the operator makes a saving, he must reflect it in the price of water and sewage, he must reduce the price and must not reflect it in profit, which makes it impossible to return the given investment,” said Žák.
The change can also be supported by the memorandum of cooperation signed on Thursday between SOVAK CR and the State Environmental Fund in the area of environmental investment management. “The devil is in the detail and we are able to draw attention to what needs to be changed and look for a solution together,” added Žák.