AöW – A strong Partner for local Water Management in Public Hands

The Allianz der öffentlichen Wasserwirtschaft e.V. (AöW) is the representation of interests of public water management in Germany. We were founded in the year 2007. Our members come from all regions in the federal states. We are an alliance of public institutions and public operators of water supply, wastewater disposal as well as of river basin management, performing their service exclusively by themselves or by means of independent public institutions in organisational forms governed by public law. We represent our political interests in the capital Berlin. In order to promote our objectives we get in contact with government representatives, delegates, specialists and also with journalists. We are present at fairs, we give information through publications and call attention to the problems and demands of local water management in public hands.

German Water – High Quality and fair Prices

The profiles, results and key performance indicators of public water operators illustrate the potential and the economic efficiency of German water management. The 100 % owners of around 65 % of drinking water suppliers and around 90 % of wastewater disposers are communities, public companies and associations. It explains the fact that public water management in Germany is safe, fine and reasonable-priced.

As an example for be in charge of safety, 600 000 km of wastewater pipes and 9 300 of sewage plants guarantee a supply and disposal without discontinuities. The quality e.g. expresses itself by the fact that there is no country in Europe with less water losses in the drinking water network and that the sewage plants provide the best cleaning efficiency of 97 %. The price of water supply in Germany is low. Per person, the charge for water is an average of 27 cents and of 39 cents for wastewater per day. High standards are imposed especially in terms of safety and quality of supply and disposal, as well as regarding customer service and sustainability.

Water supply and wastewater disposal are basic tasks of public services of general interest and in Germany within the competence of the municipalities. This includes the strategical decisions on organisational forms, participations and cooperations. By means of this successful management in the German water management is exemplary and competitive on international level. At the same time it is in a permanent process of modernisation. The aim is to maintain and further develop the high standards and keep prices stable. Benchmarking – which shows the potentials of improvement inside the operators – is thereby an important
instrument throughout in the end the citizen’s benefit.

German water management continues to invest in networks and plants, in renaturation of waters and in climate protection. With total investments of more than a 186 billion Euro since 1990, German water management is one of the biggest clients of the private industry, because planning and construction of the plants are to a great extent contracted out.

AöW – Our main Demands 

Wastewater disposal is in Germany subject to the exercise of public authority and therefore has so far been VAT tax-exempted with respect to services of general interest. No VAT tax on wastewater.

Cooperations of public companies must be facilitated and should not be limited. For consumers there is no possibility of choice of service providers of drinking water and ‘producers’ of wastewater. Privatisation would replace a public monopoly by a private monopoly. Private monopolies should be rejected. The access to water and the ecological, responsible handling of wastewater up to the recirculation in the hydrological cycle must remain in public concern, embedded in the further tasks of the municipal services of general interest.

Berlin, April 2017