Off-grid water

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

The quality of tap water has a good reputation in Luxembourg. But some properties with a well or a source of drinking water give some families ideas of self-sufficiency.

It's a sunny autumn afternoon when we arrive in the hills above a town in the north of the country, at the home of Pete (name changed by the editors) and his partner. The couple have owned their home for about five years. A bargain at first, except for one small detail: the house is not connected to the local water supply. The previous owner saw no need for it, and used the well in the garden. The property does have access to drinking water. An electric pump installed on the well provides access to running water in the house. It has to be said, though, that connecting to the local water network is not cheap. "The previous owners mainly used the well, which was sufficient for their consumption. To connect to the network, we need around 150 meters of pipe, which represents between 20 and 40,000 euros of work, plus an entry fee of 5,000 euros to connect to the network. We thought that was too much money, " says Pete.

Magali Bernard is deputy division manager in the Groundwater and Drinking Water Division. According to the Luxembourg Civil Code, no one owns the common use of water. This means that its management must ensure that no one is harmed, and that water remains a common good. For the rest, Luxembourg follows a European directive on water management dating from 2000, introduced into Luxembourg law with the Water Act of December 19, 2008. "Everything from wells to boreholes can be carried out, as long as they do not degrade water bodies and do not jeopardize the safety of drinking water supplies. All this is governed by the European directive", Magali Bernard points out.

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