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The LYONNAISE DES EAUX company institutes an eco-friendly water rate in Dunkirk

7. Community involvement

Social investment


A leading actor in the municipal water supply industry, Lyonnaise des Eaux provides to local authorities, residents, property managers, industry and farmers efficient management services that promote good stewardship of both water resources and the environment.This eco-friendly water rate structure is the result of a strategy adopted beginning in 2011, as an initial integrated measure within the new joint venture launched between the Dunkirk Region Water Supply Authority (SMAERD) and the Lyonnaise des Eaux company, subsidiary of Suez Environnement specialized in water distribution and wastewater services. This first-ever set-up, perfectly compatible with the Region's commitment in favor of Sustainable Development, consists of billing the first tier of water consumed at a lower price and charging more for subsequent tiers, while weighting this price increase by a social indicator applied to underprivileged households.



  • Such an initiative is both ecological, by virtue of inciting residents to exercise restraint in their water consumption habits, and solidarity-driven, by taking into account for the first time household incomes with 3 price tiers depending on use: water as a basic necessity, water as an amenity, and water as a source of comfort.


- Not only will the volumes consumed be taken into account in the household bill, but so will household composition and financial resources.- The three price tiers depend on the types of water use: essential to cover basic needs like hygiene and sustenance (up to 75 cubic meters per year per household), amenity (between 76 and 200 m3/year/household), and comfort (beyond 200 m3).- Plans are in the works to create an "Eco-Solidarity Observatory" to associate local residents and authorities in monitoring the system and the efficiency of measures adopted, along with a "Sustainable Water" fund to sponsor initiatives developed by the professional community with the aim of conserving water resources.- This eco-friendly rate structure lies within a collaborative framework intended to clarify the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders (local authority, private sector, civil society) regarding water resource sharing and management. A new mode of Governance was introduced July 1st 2012, in the form of an amendment to the public service delegation contract, and will be overseen by a Committee scheduled to meet at least twice a year.- Consumers will be involved within the scope of a citizen participation commission. The efforts of an international mission and the Observatory of Eco-Solidarity Analysis will provide input to Governance Committee deliberations. Best practice spotted by the World Forum Lille in 2013.


  • A first-ever system fully compliant with the Group's Sustainable Development strategy and its solidarity-based commitment
  • A customized action that accommodates regional specificities, in solid support of a strategy emphasizing the local level.


  • Beginning October 1st, the 220,000 population of the 27 municipalities in the Dunkirk Metropolitan Area will have consumption-based, sliding-scale water billing rates applied.
  • A 20% minimum decrease in the cost of water for essential needs
  • Campaign to build awareness among residents to control their water consumption.
147 200 collaborateurs
81,3 milliards € (2013)


1-2, place Samuel de Champlain
92930 Paris la Défense


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Mise à jour le 13/11/2017

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