Which Swiss cities charge the most for water?
A new study by the official price monitor for Switzerland has revealed which households pay the most for their water. In what will be a twist compared to other inflation-related news, the cost of water in the alpine nation has actually fallen significantly in the last few years, thanks to efficiency savings made by local authorities and water suppliers.
Water prices in Switzerland fall by 10 percent in six years
According to the report created by Price Supervisor for the Swiss government, Stefan Meierhans, people in Switzerland are paying around 10 percent less for water than they did in 2017. The monitor explained that water companies are able to offer a lower price now because there has been a reduction in water consumption in recent years.
However, before the residents of Switzerland celebrate a job well done for switching off faucets quicker - or if you took the government’s advice back in 2022, for showering together - the monitor explained that the reduction can be attributed to water companies becoming more efficient. Through new devices and installations across Swiss cities and cantons, less water is being wasted.
Despite the advances, this phenomenon may not last: The price monitor warned that water companies and local councils (Gemeinden) are having to deal with the increased cost of energy, meaning price rises are likely on the horizon.
Why does the cost of water vary so much in Switzerland?
When asked why certain areas charge more for water than others, the monitor told Blick that prices are determined by demand, catchment area and where each town gets its water from. For example, towns that rely on water from Swiss Lakes, like those in Zurich and Neuchâtel, have to spend 40 rappen (cents) per cubic meter pumping and cleaning the supply - cleaning a small swimming pool's worth of water costs around 10 francs.
The size of the network also plays a role in the price. In larger, less densely populated municipalities like Bern and Köniz, local authorities have to spend a lot of money catering to smaller villages, housing projects and farms that may be kilometres away from each other.
Kloten has the most expensive tap water in Switzerland
In terms of which of the 50 largest cities in Switzerland charge the most for water, the home of Zurich Airport, Kloten came out on top. There, a family with two adults and two children have to spend an average of 850 Swiss francs a year on water.
The city of St. Gallen came second for families of four at 775 Swiss francs a year. The city also came top for households of three, while Horgen on the banks of Lake Zurich was found to have the most expensive water supply for single-occupant households.
In contrast, the cheapest water supply found by the study was in the capital of Canton Valais, Sion. There, a family of four can get a regular supply of water for just over 125 Swiss francs a year, 725 francs a year less than in Kloten. Sion came bottom of the price list for all household sizes.
Swiss cities with the most expensive tap water revealed
In all, here are the Swiss cities that charge the most for water (based on the average consumption of a family of four, in Swiss francs a year):
- Kloten, Zurich (850)
- St. Gallen (775)
- Biel / Bienne, Bern (700)
- Neuchâtel (≈650)
- Riehen, Basel-Stadt (≈640)
- Renens, Vaud (≈630)
- Lausanne, Vaud (≈625)
- Lugano, Ticino (≈610)
- Kreuzlingen, Thurgau (≈590)
- Uster, Zurich (≈575)
To see how the other Swiss cities faired, check out the official study.