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Purpose of Regulation

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​ERSAR intends to protect consumers’ rights and to ensure the economic sustainability of the municipal and regional water and waste utilities. This way, ERSAR aims to promote regulation as a modern tool for State intervention in these essential economic activities, with a view to setting high performance standards and defending public interest.


Regulation has as main objective the protection of users’ and consumers’ interests by promoting the quality of service provided by operators and ensuring socially acceptable pricing, since water and waste services must have the following characteristics: essentialness, indispensability, universal access, equity, reliability and cost-efficiency associated with the quality of service.

However, this should be done considering the financial viability and the legitimate interests of the operators, regardless of the responsibility for its provision or management model, and also considering the promotion of the rest of the economic sector, through the reinforcement of the business framework while also contributing to the application of the policies defined by the government.

ERSAR is guided by the principles of competence, fairness, impartiality and transparency, comprehensively considering the technical, financial, legal, environmental, public health and social ethics, which should characterize the water and waste services.

Scope of regulation

ERSAR must assure two distinct, although complementary duties:

- Regulation authority for the drinking water supply services, urban wastewater management services and municipal waste management services;

- National authority for drinking water quality.

Concerning the first duty, ERSAR, aims to ensure the quality of the services rendered by drinking water supply systems, urban wastewater and municipal waste systems, supervising the creation, execution, management and operation of those systems. ERSAR also ensures the stability of the sector and the financial sustainability of these systems. As a regulator, ERSAR has to act over all 500 operators of the water and waste sector.
In 2003, ERSAR was nominated the national authority for drinking water quality. Currently, the regulation of drinking water quality includes all 400 drinking water supply operators.