Water consumption

In 2017, water consumption in Belgium amounted to 59,478 litres per person. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced. This objective will be reached by continuing the trend since 2000. Water consumption is therefore developing favourably.

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Water consumption - Belgium and international comparison

thousand liters per person

 199320002005201020122015201620172017//19932017//2012
Belgium65.970.168.363.661.360.159.459.5-0.4-0.6
Germany------62.7------------
France100.897.094.284.984.0----------
Netherlands82.182.477.073.372.7----------
//: Average Growth Rates

Calculations FPB based on Statistics Belgium (2018), Distribution de l'eau potable par le réseau public, https://statbel.fgov.be/ and on Eurostat (2018), Annual freshwater abstraction by source and sector [env_wat_abs] and Population change - Demographic balance and crude rates at national level, Population on 1 January [demo_gind], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 18/09/2018).

Definition: potable tap water consumption, or water consumption, is the amount of water supplied by the public water supply to homes, businesses, public buildings, industry and agriculture. It is expressed in thousands of litres per inhabitant. Water consumption by households with a rainwater cistern and by certain local public services and certain industries with their own water extraction are not included. The FPB calculates this indicator on the basis of the data from Statbel for Belgium and from Eurostat for the other European countries. The population figures come from Eurostat and correspond to the annual average.

Goal: water consumption must be reduced.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 6.4: By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development contains objective 34: “Renewable resources, in particular freshwater, will be exploited without compromising the ability of future generations to exploit them” (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013).

International comparison: in 2010, Belgium and Germany consumed approximately the same amount of potable tap water per inhabitant. This quantity is below the consumption of the Netherlands and well below the consumption of France.

UN indicator: the selected indicator is related to indicator 6.4.1 - Change in water-use efficiency over time. The evolution of water consumption represents the result of better or less efficient water use.

Sources

  • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

  • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

  • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/ (consulted on 26/04/2019).

  • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulted on 26/04/2019).

More information is available in FR (French) and NL (Dutch).