Integrated water service

Integrated water service tariff

The organisation of the integrated water service in ATOs (Optimal Territorial Areas) entails rules for setting tariffs, which must completely cover investment and operating costs. In general, the water service tariff consists of:

  • a fixed component of service, due regardless of consumption;
  • a variable component, based on the consumption of water and wastewater treatment services.

To discourage waste, the tariff is divided into bands and increases as consumption rises. There are also different types of use: domestic resident, domestic non-resident, industrial, artisan and commercial, agricultural and livestock, public non-disconnectable, public disconnectable, other uses (residual category).

The following table shows the average tariffs, defined by the Regulatory Authorities, for the services managed in each local area (drinking water distribution, sewerage collection and treatment). The Provinces of Savona, Imperia and Mantova are not reported, where Iren Group only manages the distribution of drinking water.

Average tariff for IWS (Euro/m3)1 2021
Province of Asti 2.60
Province of Cuneo2 1.77 - 1.79
Province of Genoa 2.34
Province of La Spezia 2.14
Province of Parma2 1.90 - 2.45
Province of Piacenza2 1.83 - 2.37
Province of Reggio Emilia 2.13
Province of Vercelli2 1.76 - 1.86

1The average tariff is calculated by adding the basic domestic use tariff for the aqueduct service, the sewerage tariff and the wastewater treatment tariff. In the provinces of Genoa, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Vercelli the ARERA 2020-2021 tariffs have been approved. In the remaining provinces, tariffs are provisional.

2 Minimum and maximum values of the different tariffs in place across the country.


Water bonus

With Resolution 897/2017 ARERA has introduced the social water bonus for customers in economic hardship. Users with an ISEE (Equivalent Economic Situation) indicator of less than 8,265 Euro (or less than 20,000 Euro if there are more than three dependent children) and other specific categories are entitled to apply for the bonus. The bonus covers the consumption of 50 litres per day per capita of integrated water service. To support the cost of the bonus, a specific tariff component (UI3) equal to 0.005 Euro/m3 sold was introduced for the year 2021, which is applied to all Italian users. In addition to the bonus provided by ARERA, the Local Sector Authorities can add an additional bonus financed by the tariff of the area and disbursed according to methods established by the Authorities themself. ATERSIR (Territorial Agency of Emilia-Romagna for Water and Waste Services) has resolved for 2021 the Supplementary Social Bonus for users in conditions of economic hardship: 240,000 Euro for Parma area, 160,000 Euro for the Province of Piacenza and 350,000 Euro for the Province of Reggio Emilia. The Local Sector Authorities of the Genoa and La Spezia areas have approved an amount for the two Provinces of 400,000 Euro and 220,000 Euro, respectively.

Water social bonus1 20212 Amount (Euro)
Number of bonuses awarded 25,316 1,315,921

1Data shown are for bonuses recognised in bills issued in 2021 and related to the year 2020. Calculations and amounts include ARERA Bonuses and supplementary bonuses from Local Sector Authorities.
2 data are estimated and subject to verification and are dependent on submission to ARERA on 31/03/2022 for the 2021 financial year.

Quality of the integrated water service

The Service Charters of Iren Group’s integrated water service include the indicators and time frames defined by ARERA (Resolution 655/15). In 2021, the data for 2020 were reported, confirming a very high level of compliance with the established time frames, with an average of over 90% of the services.

In order to constantly monitor the quality of services, Iren Group also regards customer satisfaction monitoring to be of fundamental importance. The periodic collection of these surveys was included as an integral and essential part of the quality management system (see page 198).

Service efficiency

At the end of 2021, the Group manages 913,105 water meters serving the various types of users, 14% of which are electronic. These are new-generation meters that, in addition to providing real-time data for billing amounts due, contribute to make residents more aware of their consumption, encouraging behaviour aimed at reducing and improving the use of water, with subsequent environmental benefits.

The water taken from the different sources is introduced in the distribution network that reaches all the users, after having carried out the necessary controls and verifications of the potability requirements. Control, extension and maintenance activities are carried out on the networks with the aim of minimising inconvenience for the public as far as possible. A priority, in fact, is given to the protection of the urban environment and the sustainability of everyday life, in particular with regard to the impact on city streets.

In 2021, out of 20,088 km of managed water network, 15,644 km (nearly 78% of the total) were checked for leaks: 4,578 km (about 23%) through the acoustic research technique carried out on-site and 11,066 km (more than 55%) employing night-time flow monitoring, a structural activity that makes it possible to analyse distribution districts and check for any anomalies that may indicate dispersions of water resources.

In the case of scheduled service interruptions, i.e. suspensions of the water supply necessary for the execution of planned works, warnings are issued through the press and local television stations on the duration of the interventions, as they affect a large part of the population. In other cases, notices are posted in the areas concerned to inform the public of the interruption date. In 2021, there were 1,016 planned outages in the managed territories.

For emergency interventions, e.g. a sudden breakage of pipes, all of the necessary measures are implemented in order to restore the water supply in the shortest possible time, in accordance with the provisions of the laws in force. In 2021, there were a total of 8,566 outages in the network, subject to repairs carried out following the search for leaks or reports received.

The average arrival time at the place of the emergency call for the Group is 112 minutes.

Water safety

In the supply of water for drinking purposes, the health and safety of the customer are an absolute priority, guaranteed by Iren Group through constant control, even beyond the legal obligations, of the quality of the water, through the analysis of the parameters, provided for by Italian Legislative Decree 31/2001 at the various sampling points established by the Control Body (Local Health Authority) along the distribution network and at points located at the exit of the large purification plants. If the water withdrawn contains levels of harmful substances that exceed the limits specified by legislation, it will be subject to treatment prior to distribution. The treatments most frequently used for the purification of deep water are normally designed to remove iron, manganese and ammonia, elements naturally present in the groundwater captured. The quality of the water is guaranteed by a control on the entire water process: from water sources to the treatment, filtration and purification processes and the distribution network, up to actual delivery to customers. The samples taken are analysed at Group laboratories to determine their chemical and microbiological characteristics.

In the wastewater treatment sector, analytical tests are carried out on the wastewater flowing into and out of the plants, and on the intermediate treatment steps, the sludge produced and the drains from the production user plants into the sewer. The number of samples and the relative analysed parameters derive from sampling plans prepared for all the areas managed. The internal tests exceed the minimum number required by law and the protocols stipulated with Local Sector Authorities, ARPA (Control Body) and Provincial Authorities.

Controls on drinking water and wastewater (no.) 2021 2020 2019
Samples Parameters Samples Parameters Samples Parameters
Emilia-Romagna 37,365 467,067 36,769 435,516 36,159 426,542
Piedmont1 5,087 57,503 5,371 63,865 5,199 64,046
Liguria 13,162 324,700 13,512 287,345 14,216 279,693
Lombardy2 517 8,823 473 7,947 485 7,925
Total 56,131 858,093 56,125 794,673 56,059 778,206

Over 56,000 samples and 858,000 parameters analysed on drinking and wastewater to ensure residents’ safety

Acoustic impact

The subject of reducing the acoustic impact is normally not particularly relevant for the integrated water service. Despite this, machinery and equipment (compressors, grills, etc.) are replaced during the unscheduled maintenance interventions with models producing lower levels of acoustic impact or greater degree of soundproofing.