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Supply and consumption of tap water

Between 2008 and 2012 tap water consumption in the Brussels Capital Region rose slightly (+0.8%), but at a pace that was substantially lower than the rate of population growth (+8.6%). The consumption of mains water is almost entirely accounted for by households (68%) and the tertiary sector (29%).

Supply of mains water

The drinking water supply of the Brussels Region represents almost 68.2 million m3 per year (average of the period 2000-2012). This water, which is produced and supplied by Vivaqua, is mostly collected in the Walloon Region, from aquifers (around 85%) or surface water. Just 3.1% of the Region’s water needs (more or less 2.1 million m3) is collected on the regional territory, in the the Brusselian aquifer from Ter kamerenbos and the Sonian Forest.

Consumption of mains water

After having peaked in 2003, the total billed consumption by subscribers diminished across all sectors until 2008, despite a significant increase in the population over the same period (+5.7% between 2004 and 2008). Between 2008 and 2011, the consumption of subscribers increased (+1.7%) but at a lower rate than population growth (+6.7%). In 2012 the water consumption of subscribers amounted to 59 million m3, i.e. slightly less than in 2011 (+0.8%). 
The difference between the total supply of mains water to the Brussels Region and the consumption by subscribers corresponds to "non-registered water volumes". The latter generally fluctuates at around 11 to 12% of the supply to the Region. In 2012, "non-registered volumes" represented 9.9 million m3 (14% of the supply). That encompasses water consumption by the fire service and the municipal services (cleaning of roads etc), cubic metres that are not counted by water meters as well as losses attributed to leaks in the distribution network. The latter is estimated by Hydrobru at 5% of the total, i.e. 3.5 million m3 of water per year.

Water supply to the Brussels Region and subscriber consumption (1995-2012)
Source: Vivaqua (water consumption measured through meters), BISA on the basis of data from the General Directorate of Statistics and Economic information, 2010 (population on 1 January)

Water supply to the Brussels Region and subscriber consumption (1995-2012)

Share of water consumption across the various sectors

Total water consumption invoiced to the various economic sectors and Brussels households amounted to 59 million m3 in 2012 (source: Vivaqua, water consumption measured through meters). Almost all of this consumption relates to households (68%) and the tertiary sector (29%). In the tertiary sector, the primary users are the hospitality sector (5.6% of total consumption), social activities, human health services and rest homes (4.7%), retail and wholesale industry (3.7%), education (2.7%) and public institutions (2.1%; 2.9% if we include the European Commission).

Water consumption in the tertiary sector (2012)
Source: Vivaqua 2013, water consumption measured through meters (NACE classification 2008)
Water consumption in the tertiary sector (2012)

  • LEEFMILIEU BRUSSEL 2011. “Milieueffectenrapport (MER) van het ontwerp van het maatregelenprogramma dat het Waterbeheersplan (WBP) van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest begeleidt”, 374 pages.
  • Hydrobru, various years. "Annual report"
  • Vivaqua, various years, "Annual report"
  • Vivaqua, various years, “Jaarlijkse statistieken over het waterverbruik van de diverse economische sectoren (volgens de NACE codes)”, data shared with Bruxelles Environnement-Leefmilieu Brussel


Datum van de update: 29/05/2020