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Climate change threatens Swedish water cost hike

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Climate change threatens Swedish water cost hike
10:44 CEST+02:00
Sweden could see the costs of tap water rise in the future, said Rural Affairs Minister Eskil Erlandsson, as the government investigates how to secure a plentiful flow under the threat of climate change.

"Water will become more expensive and Sweden needs to take action," said Erlandsson to news agency TT and added that national infrastructure requires more investment and water pipes need improved maintenance.

"In comparison with the rest of Europe, we have cheap water in Sweden. We do see a threat, because of climate change, which means measures must be taken to ensure supply doesn't dry up in the future."

A government investigation is underway and is due to conclude findings on climate change impact on the quality and supply of drinking water by mid-2015.

By July next year, however, the report must also present partial proposals on the protection of water sources and how responsibilities should be divided.

Erlandsson admits there is a need to install new filters to prevent water contamination in the northern Swedish cities of Östersund and Skellefteå, and to protect these areas with reserve water supplies.

He also states that the relatively cheap cost of water in Sweden is also a source of the problem. "Yes, because we waste a lot of water," adding that it leads to issues when dealing with an excess of used water.

The Swedish Water and Wastewater Association (SvensktVatten) states that the rate of investment in water infrastructure needs to grow from today's five billion kronor per year to between 10-15 billion kronor annually in 20 year's time.

Infrastructure installed between 1950-1970 must be replaced or renovated to meet today's standards and Swedes will definitely see the price of water increase in the future.

"In real terms, we are talking about price increases of between 30 to 100 percent over the next 20-25 years," said the trade organization's president Lena Söderberg

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