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FAQ

  1. 1
    WATER QUALITY

    What is safe drinking water? 

    The World Health Organization and the European Union define it as water a person can drink every day, their whole life long, at no risk to their health. It is the water we bring to your home, which easily surpasses the strictest health regulations.

    How is the quality required of tap water established? 

    The European Union, following World Health Organization guidelines, sets limits for the presence of certain components in water. Many of these are not harmful to the human body (some are even beneficial), whilst other are only so when present in large amounts.

    How do you guarantee the drinkability of the water reaching our homes? 

    The water reaching your homes undergoes the strictest controls. The company carries out tests to guarantee the absence of unwanted microorganisms and chemical products, check the physicochemical characteristics of the supplied water and to monitor other characteristics such as smell, colour and taste. This involves testing over 90 microbiological, chemical and physical parameters. All of them are analysed systematically by an accredited laboratory, in accordance with legal requirements and standard ISO 17025.

    In addition, water for consumption is continually analysed for turbidity, temperature, pH and, especially, free chlorine at different points in the distribution network, to ensure it contains only minimum quantities of the latter as an additional health guarantee.

    Can you drink tap water? 

    Of course. Tap water is safe drinking water; in other words, it can be drunk at no risk to your health. 

    How is the composition of drinking water established? 

    To establish the quality that tap water should have, the European Union, following World Health Organization guidelines, sets limits for the presence of certain components in water. Many of these are not harmful to the human body (some are even beneficial), whilst other are only so when present in large amounts.

    To establish drinkability levels, researchers use as a daily consumption benchmark of someone drinking an average of two litres a day for 70 years, with very generous safety margins.

    Who is responsible for the quality of my tap water?

    The Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, the autonomous community health authorities and the supply company. In addition, homeowners are responsible for the drinking water in their own homes by ensuring proper maintenance of indoor installations.

    Is there any need to install devices such as softeners or reverse osmosis filters at home to improve the quality of my water? 

    Tap water is drinkable and meets all legally-established quality standards. There is therefore no need to buy any additional devices to treat this water. What should be pointed out is that if you don’t choose these devices carefully, don’t monitor them regularly and don't maintain them properly, health risks might appear (contamination due to bacteria, excessive demineralization of the water, high sodium concentrations, etc.).

    What factors affect the taste and smell of tap water? 

    The composition of drinking water includes salts and other substances that give it a particular flavour and smell, but which are harmless to health. So, the fact that water has a given taste or smell should not be taken as meaning it’s not safe to drink. 

    If the water at home suddenly looks, tastes or smells unpleasant, is it advisable to drink? 

    If you find your tap water is suddenly dirty, or tastes or smells unpleasant, we recommend you contact our customer services.

    1. CHLORINE

      What is chlorine? 

      Chlorine is the most commonly used water disinfectant in the world, due to its great effectiveness and reliability in removing all kinds of harmful bacteria that may be in the water, supply piping or storage tanks. Chlorine is added to drinking water at the minimum dose to provide a health guarantee (as established in legalisation) that is not harmful to people’s health. For this reason the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends it as the most appropriate disinfectant for water.

      Indeed, chlorination of drinking water is one of the most significant advances in public health.

      Why is chlorination the most widely used disinfectant technique in the world for purifying water?

      Because the method provides the fullest guarantees for disinfecting water up to the consumers’ taps, preventing proliferation of pathogenic agents in tanks and pipes, while its innocuousness at the concentrations used has been fully demonstrated. For this reason the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends it as the most appropriate disinfectant for water.

      How much chlorine does tap water contain?

      According to Royal Decree 140/2003, transposing European Directive 98/83/EC to state legislation, the concentration of chlorine in drinking water should not exceed the recommended level of 1 mg/l. Although state legislation does not establish a minimum level for free chlorine, many autonomous communities have set the value at 0.2 mg/l in their monitoring plans.

      Bearing in mind that chlorine disappears with residence time in water and temperature, among other factors, levels are controlled throughout the network. Thus, if it drops below the established limit in the pipeline before reaching consumers’ homes, small amounts of chlorine are added from the distribution network (rechlorination) to guarantee the sanitation quality of water.

      Is it harmful to health?

      The WHO states that chlorine is completely harmless to health at the legally established concentrations. The maximum concentrations of chlorine in tap water established by the organisation guarantee there is no risk to health.

      Indeed, chlorination of drinking water is one of the most significant advances in public health, as its lethal effect on bacteria and other microorganisms has helped prevent and eradicate many water-transmitted diseases. The presence of a suitable dose of chlorine after water treatment poses no health risk and protects water from pollutants, while also providing an indicator of adequate disinfection. 

      How can the smell and taste of chlorine be lessened?

      Chlorine guarantees water quality along the pipeline to your home, but it can sometimes give water a disagreeable smell and flavour. This can be lessened by following this advice on consumption:

      - Pour the water into a glass receptacle, shake it and leave it standing uncovered for a few moments; the chlorine rapidly evaporates. Then put it in the fridge. It will soon be ready to drink.
      - You can also improve the taste by adding a few drops of lemon juice.
      - If you are going to drink water directly from the tap, add ice. The taste and smell of water is less noticeable in cold water.

    2. HARDNESS

      What causes water hardness? 

      As water flows through different types of terrain from its source in rivers or aquifers, it acquires the calcium and magnesium that determine hardness. Thus, the degree of hardness depends on the geological nature of the soil it flows through at its source. Consequently, soil containing limestone generates higher limestone content than granite soil. 

      Is hard water good for your health?

      The hardness of tap water poses no risk to human health, quite the opposite: the calcium and magnesium in hard water are essential to health.

      A calcium-rich diet is essential for bone tissue growth and maintenance, correct functioning of the cardiovascular system and hormone secretion. Age can produce a loss of bone mass and lead to osteoporosis. This can partly be alleviated by a high calcium intake.

      Water nowadays is a significant source of calcium, when one considers how consumption of dairy products has decreased. Thus, daily consumption of 1 to 1.5 litres of tap water provides 7% to 15% of the daily recommended amount of this nutrient. Calcium also plays an important role in children’s daily nutritional requirements and it is estimated that tap water provides between 15% and 20% of the daily dietary calcium requirements for children and adolescents.

      Magnesium is essential for numerous cell functions and bone mineralisation, transmission of neuromuscular and central nervous system activity and heart function. Consumption of 1 to 1.5 litres of HIDRAQUA tap water provides 5% to 20% of the daily recommended amount of magnesium.

      How is water hardness measured?

      Water hardness is normally expressed as the calcium carbonate concentration (CaCO3) of water.

      Thus, water is classified in a number of ways based on the degree of hardness. One of the most commonly used systems is the Merck scale:

      0 – 79 mg CaCO3/l…………………………. Very soft water

      80 – 149 mg CaCO3/l…………………… Soft water

      150 – 329 mg CaCO3/l………………… Semi-hard water

      330 – 549 mg CaCO3/l………………… Hard water

      Over 550 mg CaCO3/l………….…….. Very hard water

      Water hardness can also be expressed in French degrees (ºfH) or German degrees (ºdH). The equivalence of these units to hardness expressed in mg/l of calcium carbonate is:

      1 ºFH = 10 mg CaCO3/l
      1 ºDH = 17.8 mg CaCO3/l

      I need to know the water hardness to programme the dishwasher. Where can I find out?

      To find out your water hardness, go to the ‘Water Quality’ section and select your town or send a request via the ‘Contact’ section in the Virtual Office 

    3. NITRATES

      Where do nitrates come from?

      Nitrates are a natural component required by the human body and essential for our metabolism and blood. We ingest these types of salts through plant species such as chard, spinach or lettuce, through the water we drink and even in food where it is used as a preservative.

      Are nitrates found in water?

      The concentration of nitrates in surface and groundwater is usually low, between 5 and 10 mg/l.

      Occasional higher levels may appear in some areas due to such situations as pollution from farms or livestock wastewater.

      Are they harmful to health?

      As with all elements in our diet, there is a minimum recommended nitrate intake and a maximum above which they can become harmful to health.

      Legislation establishes amaximum of 50 mg/l of nitrates in tap water as a guideline. However, the daily permitted dose for a person with normal health is 219 mg/day*. At higher amounts, nitrates can cause alterations to the capacity of blood to transport oxygen (methemoglobinaemia).

      *of a person weighing 60 kg. Two litres of water a day with a nitrate content of 50 mg/l would provide only 100 mg/day in the diet.

      Do they affect everyone equally?

      Some groups are more sensitive to an excess of nitrates. Infants under three months of age fed exclusively on formula milk are most vulnerable, for reasons specifically related to their diet and metabolic status.

      Special precaution should also be taken in pregnant women and people with haemoglobin disorders, i.e. groups in whom a degree of dietary control is specifically recommended.

      Can water containing nitrate levels above the legally recommended limits be used?

      Sensitive groups are recommended not to use water for drinking or cooking when the maximum guideline level of 50 mg/l is exceeded.

      However, it can be used for other domestic purposes such as showering and washing clothes or kitchen utensils or even fruit and vegetables.

      What would happen if the water supplied to our community exceeded the nitrate limit at some point?

      If the continuous water quality controls were to detect that legally established nitrate levels had been exceeded, the population and health authorities would be informed immediately. In addition, while seeking a treatment solution or alternative supply, the analytical controls would be reinforced in the affected areas.

  2. 2
    HEALTH

    Is drinking one and half litres of water a day enough? 

    It’s difficult to establish the exact amount of water that a person should drink a day, as their needs can vary depending upon a number of factors, such as physical activity, the climate, age and gender, amongst others.

    The recommended consumption for healthy adults is 1 ml per kilocalorie ingested per day: in other words, between 2 and 3 litres a day.

    Of this amount, between 75 and 80% should be obtained from drinks (mainly water, milk, juices, teas and infusions, broths and soups, etc.), whilst the remaining 20 or 25% should come from solid foods such as fruit and vegetables.

    Do you know how you should start and end the day? 

    Whilst we sleep, we lose water. This is why you should drink at least a glass of water before going to bed and another when you get up.

    Why do we need to be properly hydrated? 

    When we sweat, our bodies lose water and mineral salts. Ninety-nine per cent of our sweat is simply water, but it also contains minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and iron.

    Proper hydration allows us to restore the water levels our body needs to prevent a number of ailments, such as vomiting, headaches, tiredness, dry skin, etc., all symptoms of dehydration.

    Do you know why you shouldn’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water? 

    The water our bodies lose every day (more than 2 litres of it) must be replaced as soon as possible to stop the dehydration process from starting.

    That’s why it’s so important not to wait until you feel thirsty, as this is itself a symptom of dehydration.

    Should we drink more water if we exercise? 

    Drinking half a litre of water two hours before exercising is vital to ensure proper hydration and give the body time to eliminate the excess water drunk.

    Whilst exercising, it’s advisable to drink at regular intervals, to replace all the water you lose through sweating. After exercising, it is vital to drink water to ensure proper recovery.

    Is tap water good for an elite athlete? 

    Yes, water is good for an elite athlete and indeed anyone who enjoys sport.

    Can children drink water from the tap?

    Tap water is healthy for both adults and kids. It is important for kids to take compulsory breaks during training or games to drink enough water for hydration purposes.

    Do the elderly need to drink more? 

    It is important for older people to monitor their water consumption as, with age, changes occur to the kidney function and the feeling of thirst decreases significantly.

    is it advisable to drink more water if you have the flu or diarrhoea? 

    The common cold, the flu and diarrhoea often lead to dehydration, so you need to drink water regularly in such cases.

  3. 3
    RATIONAL WATER USE

    Why is it better to have a shower than a bath? 

    It’s better to shower, however, every minute we spend in the shower with the water can use up to 10 litres of water. 

    Which plants need the least watering? 

    Plants needing the least watering are shrubs, and local and hardy plants. These are just as attractive as other plants but consume less water.

    What’s the best time for watering the garden? 

    First thing in the morning or at evening time, as you’ll make better use of the water, which doesn’t evaporate so quickly then.

    After use, where should I dispose of cooking oil? 

    It’s recommended that you remove the oil from the pan with kitchen paper and throw it away in the bin, or pick it up once it’s cold in a plastic container sealed and take it to a collection point so that it can be recycled. Don’t pour it down the sink, because oil and water don’t mix and it is very difficult to eliminate it at wastewater treatment plants.

    Why shouldn’t you throw paint away by pouring it down the sink? 

    It’s not recommended, because paint is a highly polluting substance. We would advise you to leave it to dry until it is a solid lump and then take it to your local municipal waste collection facility.

    What about cigarette butts: can I throw them down the toilet?

    Please don’t throw your butts down the toilet: they contain nicotine and tar, substances that dissolve easily in water but are pollutants, even at small concentrations, and are difficult to eliminate during the treatment process. Throw your used cigarettes away with your rubbish, after they are properly extinguished. 

    What else shouldn’t I throw away down the toilet? 

    Wipes, medicines, cotton bubs, plastic, gauze, sanitary pads and condoms shouldn’t be thrown down the toilet because, after they are flushed away, they can block pipes and affect the ability of wastewater to enter treatment plants. We recommend that you put a small bin in the bathroom for this kind of solid waste.

  4. 4
    AID, SUBSIDIES AND PAYMENT DIFFICULTIES

    Where can I view the rates applicable to my town? 

    You can access specific information in your town using the town search engine. There you can view current rates and possible subsidies available to you.

    In addition, at the foot of your regular bills, you’ll find information in the official bulletins of your province with the publication of rates, so you can view them in the official website.

    Are any subsidies available if there are more than four of us?

    Possible subsidies based on the number of users in the home can be viewed using the town search engine. If these rates are applicable, the contract holder or authorised person must present a truthful application, together with the corresponding documentation, as stated in the above section .

    If you have any doubts, contact us through the customer service channels.

    I am registered in my town. Are any subsidies applicable?

    Being registered in the town does not entitle you to subsidised rates, nevertheless, you can check requirements for available subsidies for retirement, unemployment or large families in the town search engine. If these rates are applicable, the contract holder or authorised person must present a truthful application, together with the corresponding documentation, as stated in the above web page.

    If you have any doubts, please contact us through the customer service channels.

    What aid or subsidies might I be eligible for?

    Applicable aid, reduced rates or subsidies, approved by your council and depending on the contract holder’s social situation (unemployed persons, large family, Minimum insertion income or retired persons) can be viewed in the town search engine.

    If the cases are applicable, the contract holder or authorised person must present a truthful application, together with the related documentation, as stated in the above section.

    If you’d like to receive more information or if you have any queries, please contact us through the customer service channels.

    What should I do if I receive a supply disconnection notification and I can’t pay my debt?

    Contact us through the customer service channels.

    Can my supply be cut off for non-payment?

    Unpaid bills for the service are managed in accordance with current legislation, regulations and by-laws, which can be viewed in the town search engine.

    If you receive a service disconnection notification and can’t pay your bill, contact us through the customer service channels and we will study your case.

    What can I do if I’ve had a leak and get a very high bill? 

    You have to repair the leak as soon as possible (consult regulations in "Your town" for confirmation) and send the repair bill to HIDRAQUA. Your case will be studied and the excess consumption revised in line with the reductions due to leaks specified in the Service Regulation  (in the towns where this reduction exists).

  5. 5
    CONSUMPTION AND BILLING

    I don’t understand the water bill. What am I paying for exactly?

    Drinking water supply contracts are subject to rates based on current legislation. Generally, the service bill includes water rates, meter maintenance and sewerage, which are generally the property of the service concessionaire in most cases. The bill also includes environmental levies or charges paid to the autonomous community and may also include a waste charge, paid to the municipal government. With regard to the total amount of the bill, generally between 35% and 50% is the water rate, while the rest is made up of taxes (VAT and others).

    The water bill to your home also includes itemised information, so you can see to whom each item is paid, and information in the official bulletins where rates are published for you to check, if you so require.

    If you’d like to receive more information or have any queries, please contact us through the customer service channels.

    I’ve received the water bill and been charged at the highest tranche. What does this mean?

    Your water bill includes a fixed fee for the service and a variable fee for consumption. The latter is applied on the basis of consumption tranches to incentivise efficient water use, rewarding more responsible use and penalising excess use by assigning a price per m3, which increases as each tranche is exceeded.

    However, if your consumption has been affected by a leak that went unnoticed, such as an accidental burst in your indoor installation, go to the town search engine to see if there are any applicable subsidies.

    If you’d like to receive more information or have any queries, please contact us through the customer service channels.

    My water consumption is zero yet I’m paying a service fee. Why?

    The price of water includes a variable consumption fee and a fixed service fee. The latter is applied to guarantee immediate availability and permanent access to the water service and is a fixed amount for each billing period. It is applied on the basis of meter diameter.

    If you’d like to receive more information or have any queries, please contact us through the customer service channels.

    What can I do if I don’t agree with the meter reading?

    You can check your readings whenever you want. If you disagree with it, you can contact HIDRAQUA to ask for the reading to be reviewed. This review is free.

    What can I do if my bills are high and I’m not sure if my meter is working properly?

    Customers have the right to request a check of their meter at any time. The checks are performed by an approved company. The cost of verification is to subscriber account. If the result is favourable to the customer, this amount will be reimbursed by the company and based on the deviation cited in the report, the queried bill will be recalculated.

  6. 6
    MY SERVICE

    I have bought my first home. Do I have to contract the water supply? 

    Yes, you have to contract it. To do this you can ring our CALL CENTER, make an application via the Virtual Office or visit our offices in person  with the following documentation:

    • National identity card or company tax number (CIF)
    • Certificate of Occupancy or definitive classification
    • Title deeds, private contract of sale or rental agreement
    • Direct debit details (20 digits)

    What services can I access from home? 

    You can make inquiries and carry out transactions by phoning our call centre (link to Customer Services section or provide the call centre phone number and times) or over the Internet, where we provide a Virtual Office to carry out all your transactions without having to visit our offices. You can also download our app.

    How can I pay my water bill? 

    You can order them to be paid by direct debit. Just gives us your bank account direct debit details (20 digits). Ninety-three per cent of our customers do this, as it is easier and more convenient.

    If you haven’t ordered direct debit, you can pay your bill at the associated banks, with a copy of the bill we send to your home or email address. You can also pay by credit card by calling our CALL CENTER.

    Is there any way I can get information, such as a leaflet? 

    Yes, all the publications, campaigns and leaflets we regularly publish are available on our website. But if you don’t find what you are looking for or you want something specific, you can order it from the Communications Department.

    If I have a fault, where do I have to call? 

    As well as the Customer Services call center, there is a technical office for any anomalies or incidents in the service, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Its phone number. See details.

    How can I cancel my water service? 

    If you want to request cancellation of the service, you can do so via the Virtual Office or present the following documentation at our offices:

    • National identity card or tax number (CIF or NIF)
    • Meter reading
    • When the applicant and contract holder differ, a photocopy of the applicant’s national identity card or similar accreditation, and a ‘declaration of authorisation’ signed by him or her will be required Cancellations can also be requested in writing.

    Once your documentation is ready you can access our website, phone our call center or present it directly at our offices.

    I’m a property developer. Can I apply for a water connection or sewerage system? 

    To order water connections or sewerage, or, if required, an initial report for a building permit, you need to present the following documentation (these applications also include an estimate):

    • National identity card or tax number (CIF or NIF)
    • Map of plot location
    • Plan of the plumbing and drainage installation (for applications for more than one home)

    What do I have to do to change the name of the contract holder? 

    If it is a home, you have to present:

    • National identity card or tax number (NIF)
    • Bank account number for direct debit
    • The title deeds, sale contract or rental agreement for your home
    • Valid certificate of occupancy or substitute document.
    • Meter reading

    If it is for commercial or industrial premises you need to present:

    • National identity card or tax number (NIF)
    • Bank account number for direct debit
    • The title deeds, sale contract or rental agreement for your premises
    • Opening permit.
    • Last paid bill or registration for the commercial activity tax (IAE)
    • Meter reading