Although utilities like energy (gas and electricity) are privatised in Germany, the water supply network is public. This means that your water supply company is determined by where you live; you do not have a choice.
If you are renting a flat or room, costs for water supply are usually included in the additional costs (Nebenkosten) you pay to the landlord or building’s owner. The amount you pay is based on your consumption, and may be adjusted according to quarterly or yearly meter readings.
If your water supply is not controlled by your landlord or if you have bought a house, you will need to make contact with the local water supply company to set up an account. You will need some personal details, a German bank account to pay your bills, and the number displayed on your water meter.
Water supply companies in Germany
There are hundreds of water companies in operation across the different federal states (Bundesländer) and municipalities of Germany. Where you live will determine which company supplies your water. Some of the biggest companies are listed below.
|Stadtwerke Düsseldorf AG
|Stadtwerke München GmbH
Changing address & Notifying water supplier
If you hold an account with your water supplier (i.e. water is not managed by your landlord) and you are moving to a new address, you need to notify both your old and new water suppliers. This can usually be done online. As each area in Germany is served by a different water supplier, it is not usually possible to take your existing account to your new home.
Can you drink tap water in Germany?
German water suppliers are obliged to regularly test and monitor the quality of their water, and so you can feel confident that drinking tap water is safe wherever you are in Germany.
That being said, some Germans prefer not to drink tap water, and it can be hard to get served a glass of tap water in a restaurant, with many people instead opting to purchase a bottle of mineral water.