Free water for clean-up of flood damage for victims of disaster

Free water for clean-up of flood damage for victims of disaster
Credit: Belga

Several measures are being taken to help the Walloon victims of the floods that ravaged many parts of Belgium on 14 and 15 July, as they will not be charged for the water used for cleaning the damage, nor for the restoration of water supplies.

In consultation with other service providers, the Société Wallonne des Eaux (SWDE), the region’s main company for the production and distribution of drinking water, will be helping flood victims in several ways, according to a press release released on Thursday.

Large volumes of water were needed to fix the damage and clear the affected houses, which resulted in excess charges for many victims, however, the company said that these costs as well as overconsumption caused by damage to private indoor installations like boilers, would be wavered.

SWDE will use data transmitted by the competent authorities to identify where the damaged connections are located in the affected streets and will ensure that their next annual adjustment bill will be capped on the basis of the previous year's consumption, so as not to take into account, thereby ridding them of overconsumption costs.

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If the consumption levels are lower, for example, if a house is empty whilst it is being repaired, the company will deduct a flat rate of 10 m³ for cleaning.

Meanwhile, flood victims whose connections are no longer in service or have to be taken out of service as part of the demolition or renovation of houses damaged by flooding will receive a free replacement, rather than having to pay an average of €1,500.

Finally, all collection costs - reminders and notices of default - for the unpaid invoices will be temporarily suspended for flood victims.

SWDE stressed that customers who were affected can also apply to social services of their municipalities to apply to benefit from the Social Water Fund, which could help them pay both their water bill and the technical improvements to private installations (boilers, etc.).

Even if the person is not on benefits, the fund will intervene in the payment of the bill of the consumer in difficultý of payment for an amount of €526 (increased by €105/person from the fourth person in the household).

Meanwhile, the company said it is making "major investments in the infrastructure in the affected areas."

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