But who, in the end, is more efficient?
More than 90% of the German water services are publicly owned. Here, the water is chlorinated only in the case of very exceptional situations, whereas that is common practice in almost all of the 80% of the privately owned services in France. But in Germany too, chlorination and its procession of unhealthy end products registers progress. After the (in part) privatisation of the Berlin water system, Veolia is already trying to bring the possibility of chlorination of the Berlin water into the picture. At the same time, the permanent maintenance of the pipes has in many cases been replaced by risk management: pipes are only repaired when there is a leak. The schedules for the maintenance of material are more spaced out and the cheapest is chosen when new investments are needed. The long-term consequences of this policy are visible in the neighbouring country. 840.000 km of the French water ducts, controlled by more than 80% by Veolia, Suez and Saur, are more than 30 years old. The leaks in drinking water canalisations are in the order of 26.4%. In Germany, until recently, they amounted to 7.3%. Nevertheless, according to Veolia, the plundering of more water resources is still more efficient and cheaper than the costly renovation of the canalisations, particularly in the cities. Increased use of recycled sewage water as drinking water will follow automatically. And so it is not particularly surprising that in France, as well as in the United Kingdom, the 2015 deadline is giving headaches, as the European ordinance on drinking water will then be in full swing. In Germany, with only a few exceptions, the observance of the ordinance will not be a problem.