Getting Your Water Connected in Portugal

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

When you move to Portugal, sorting out your water supply is key, along with sorting out other utilities like electricity and gas and arranging home internet.

In Portugal, water services are managed by local municipalities. This means you don’t get much choice with your provider; it depends on where you live. Each area has its own supplier, and information about your specific provider is available through your local municipality.

For example, Aguas de Lisboa e Vale do Tejo looks after the Lisbon and Tejo region. In the Algarve, Aguas do Algarve supplies water to the region.

Sometimes, residents of apartments and condominiums have water bills included as part of their fees, and no special arrangements are needed.

If your place doesn’t have a water connection, arranging one through your municipality or direct provider may take some time. In rural areas, mains water might not be available, and alternatives like water tanks or boreholes are used.

Getting Connected

There are several ways to get connected.

  1. Visit your nearest câmara municipal (town hall), and they can tell you who supplies water to your area.
  2. Visit a Loja do Cidadão (Citizens’ Shop) to find out who supplies your area.
  3. Use the form below.

Once you know your supplier, contact them to set up your account. You’ll need to provide some documents, including:

  • Proof of identity (like a passport or ID card)
  • Portuguese tax number (NIF)
  • Bank account details
  • Proof of address

Paying Your Water Bills

Water bills come every two months and can be paid in various ways, such as direct debit or at Multibanco ATMs. Bills are based on a fixed rate plus any extra usage.

Taking your own meter readings can help keep your bill accurate.

To save on water costs, consider installing water savers on your taps. These devices mix air with water, reducing usage and saving you money within months.

Drinking Tap Water

Yes, you can generally drink tap water in Portugal as it meets EU standards. However, the taste may not be up to your liking. The quality of the taste of water varies across Portugal.

Water Usage

For your garden and other outdoor uses, you usually won’t need a separate contract for water, except if you have a swimming pool. This means that for activities like watering your plants or using a hosepipe, you can simply use your home’s main water supply without extra paperwork.

However, for swimming pools, due to their significant water usage, you may need to arrange a specific contract or permit with your water provider or local municipality. It’s a good idea to check this beforehand to ensure you’re following local regulations and to understand any additional costs or requirements. It’s also worth noting that with a swimming pool, you’ll be using more water than the average household, and so the cost per cubic metre of water goes up once you get out of the average usage.

If you’re filling your pool, it may be cheaper to find a local company that offers this service. Outside of the wildfire season, the bombeiros (fire department) often offer this service at an affordable rate.

Portugal’s water situation varies; while the north may receive plenty of rain, the south often faces droughts. During dry periods, local authorities may restrict water use for activities like gardening or car washing to conserve supplies.

Remember, managing your water supply is part of settling into your new home in Portugal. With a bit of organisation, you’ll have everything running smoothly in no time.

Complaining About Your Water Supply

For any issues, contact details for your local water board can be found on the Aguas de Portugal website or by visiting a Loja do Cidadão (Citizens’ Shop). These shops offer a range of services, making it easier to manage bureaucratic tasks in Portugal.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

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