Water service fees 2024 – what changes does the new Council of Ministers regulation introduce?

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Effective January 1, 2024. A new decree of the Council of Ministers of October 26, 2023 on unit rates of fees for water services enters into force (OJ. of 2023. pos. 2471). It amends the regulations previously in effect as of December 22, 2017. The regulations derive directly from the Water Law Act but also from the Act of June 16, 2023 (Journal of Laws of 2023, item 2029) amending the Geological and Mining Law and some other acts.

Who is affected by the new regulations?

The new regulation was issued on the basis of Art. 227 para. 1 and 2 of the Law of July 20, 2017. – Water Law (Journal of Laws 2023 item 1478, as amended). The regulations contained therein apply to those obligated to pay water service fees and cover a group of companies and entities that abstract both groundwater and surface water. Importantly, under the new regulations, the need to pay fees has also been extended to those using them for heat pumps and aquifer heat accumulators. The new regulations also cover industrial plants and entities that discharge saline wastewater into inland flowing waters, as well as Wody Polskie, the key entity responsible for managing the country’s water resources.

Water service fees – what changes?

Issued October 26, 2023. The Council of Ministers’ regulation on unit rates for water services introduces a number of new regulations. First and foremost among them are the rates associated with the introduction of each 1m3 of water from the heat pump or heat accumulator of the aquifer into groundwater. They range, depending on the temperature of the discharged water, from PLN 0.68 to PLN 4.24.

The regulations also set upper unit rates for water services in the form of a variable fee for groundwater extraction for heat pumps and aquifer heat accumulators. They amount to PLN 1.00 per MWh of thermal energy produced or consumed by the installations, and PLN 0.35 for the non-refundable withdrawal of 1m3 of process water not directly intended for the production or consumption of thermal energy.

The Cabinet regulation also introduces coefficients that differentiate the unit rate of the water service fee. They apply to plants discharging wastewater with increased salinity and include the use of a retention-dosing system or other system that achieves the same effect. In addition, the coefficients apply to the treatment or pretreatment of wastewater and water from the dewatering of mining plants containing chlorides and sulfates in the industrial wastewater treatment or pretreatment system. The regulation also provides for an increase starting in 2030. The rates of variable fees for water services for the so-called “water service”. plants with increased salinity.

The rates of fees for the extraction of groundwater and surface water remain unchanged

Contrary to what has been announced, the Council of Ministers’ regulation on fees for water services assumes that the existing rates for unit water services related to groundwater or surface water abstraction will be maintained. This means, therefore, that water service fees related to groundwater abstraction will still be charged at a fixed amount of PLN 500 per day per 1m3/s, taking into account the maximum water abstraction specified in the water permit or integrated permit.

Similarly, the rates of fees for water services related to surface water abstraction will be maintained at PLN 250 per day per 1m3/s, taking into account the maximum water abstraction specified in the water permit or integrated permit. Keeping fee rates at the same level is due to the abandonment of linking water service fees from groundwater and surface water abstraction to the availability of groundwater resources and the multi-year mean low flow (SNQ). The decision was dictated by the difficulty of establishing SNQs for individual waters and available water resources.

The Council of Ministers’ new regulation on unit rates for water services comes into effect on January 1, 2024. The exceptions are the regulations that set water service fee rates for so-called “water service”. plants with higher salinity – these will take effect on January 1, 2030.

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