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Modernising the water sector- Higlight some of the main regulatory changes taking place in Hungary

The Hungarian Water Utility Association (MaVíz) was established in 1990 with a view to act as an independent representative of the water industry’s interests, offering trade development and engineering services .

In Hungary public water services are provided by state- owned municipal (five large regional utilities) and local governments– owned water utilities.

41 public utilities operate under different structures. 39 of these are affiliated members of MaVíz, which represents 95% of the public water services of the country . In addition, 100 affiliated members represent the water industry and trade, furthermore engineering companies and universities. MaVíz’s efforts to coordinate these organisations, which differ not only in size but in the conditions of service provided, will become increasingly important with regards to the following main task groups:

  • Representation and harmonization of interests and maintaining relations with national and foreign organizations, ministries, municipalities, parliamentary, scientific and social committees, associations and chambers
  • Increasing public engagement
  • Providing professional help for member companies
  • Information circulation, technical, economic and administrative training, publcations, conferences and programme organization
  • The spread of advanced technologies and methods, and cooperations with water industry and trade companies, as well as with local authorities and social organizations

The present

In Hungary, drinking water supply has 100% coverage whilst 73% of the populations has a sewer connection. Wastewater utilities , compared to advanced EU states, are still lagging behind by a considerable amount, despite recent significant improvements. With Hungary’s accession to the European Union , our Association has become a member of the European Union of National Associations of Water Services (EUREAU). MaVíz is also a member of IWA and maintains relations with numerous Hungarian and foreign organizations.

The future

The State Program for Improvement of Drinking Water Quality aims to secure drinking water quality , meeting the European requirements in the near future. As well as this, the National Settlement Waste Water Discharge and Cleaning Implementation Program (2000-2015) has several targets:

  • Wastewater has to be treated to a safe level before discharge and implemented across the whole of the country
  • Biological wastewater treatment has to be ensured in settlements above 2000 PE and in smaller vulnerable hydrogeolical environments
  • Where it is not cost-effective to build a sewer, alternative sanitation solutions need to be found.

In December 2011 the Hungarian Parliament passed the first Water Utility Act. Alongside the numerous special regulations, the Act has two very important clauses. In 2012 there was established a new department in the Hungarian Energy Office. This office will control the water utilities, the contracts between the utilities and the municipalities , and the water prices. It is a very new political line in the life of the Hungarian water industry. The other aim is to drastically reduce the number of Hungarian water utilities. The Act has created a new system which has conditions only large operators will be able to meet. After a transition period the number of water supply companies will be reduced to approximately 30-40 by 2016. This process began in the middle of 2012.

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Information Booklet - Hungarian Water Utility Association2.84 MB