There has been a significant increase in the water price since the 1990s on the French national scale, due to the new European Directives implementation between 1990 and 1996.
The highest annual progression was the price of sanitation, which reached 10%. There was a 5% increase per year in the price of drinking water supply over the period. A study, ordered by the French ArtoisPicardy Water Agency to the International Office for Water, focused on comparing the water price in the Artois-Picardy Basin with the other prices in France and in some large European cities and on learning some lessons. Analysis of the water price and invoice In the Artois-Picardy Basin, the average water price amounted to 3.46 Euros/m3 in 2006. The average invoice for a household was thus of about 415 Euros for a yearly consumption of 120 m3 . In 2005, the average share of the water bill in the households’ available income reached about 1.6% as compared to 1.12% on the national scale. Comparison with the average price per m3 at the European level The comparison with the French average shows a significant variation, as the average water price on a national scale was 2.77 Euros in 2005, against 3.39 Euros/m3 on the average in the Artois-Picardy Basin. In 2006, as compared with the water price in Europe, in cities close to the Artois-Picardy Basin, it seems that the water price was lower in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Liege than in Artois-Picardy, but the prices in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Middelburg were close to those in Artois-Picardy.