Eau du Grand Lyon

Confluence is Lyon’s history and its future


Lyon historically was the cradle of “Compagnie Générale des Eaux” . Times have changed, and the Lyon Metropolitan Area elected to become one of the very few French cities which are a city, a department, and a metropolitan area.  It decided equally to have a unique drinking water service, organized by the city and outsourced to a private operator, which was selected after competitive tendering: Eau du Grand Lyon, 100% subsidiary of Veolia, was installed on February 2015. Eau du Grand Lyon is the owner of the assets, decides on the investments and the water tariffs, whereas day-to-day operations and maintenance are outsourced to the private operator.


  • Lyon, France

Population served

  • 1.3 million

Service provided

  • Drinking water

Source of Water

  • 100% groundwater

Key elements of Lyon’s City Water Story

  • The Lyon Metropole wastewater treatment system (3200 km of sewage network and 12 treatment plants) ensures high pollutant removal rates and thus keeps environment and ecosystems clean and healthy.

  • During rain events, 50% of the runoff is infiltrated directly by green infrastructure and the other 50% is collected in the sewage network.

  • The Lyon Metropole has installed a customer advisory commission (CCSPL: Commission Consultative des Services Publics Locaux). This commission involves citizen and NGOs interested in drinking water supply matters; the annual reports from Eau du Grand Lyon (drinking water utility) and of Lyon Metropole are provided to the Commission for advice.

  • Urban densification: between now and 2030, Lyon expects its population to grow by 300 000 new inhabitants, of which 150 000 in the CBD.

Addressing the urban water challenges

Eau du Grand Lyon is by contract committed to supply water to all, complying 100% of the time with French and EU quality standards.  Lyon decided to have a real-time control of its operator, through a unique system, the Smart Water Box, enabling to screen at any time the activities and possible incidents and remedies.

In addition, Lyon requests its operator to play a role in occupational integration in the Lyon Metro area:

  • Training alternating classroom and workplace, to enhance academic training with practical learning within the business : all levels are concerned from worker to executive, with trainees representing a least 7% of the total staff;
  • Veolia also approached professional integration agencies to offer 7,500 Hours of work yearly (13,500 from 2018 on) to people encountering difficulties in finding a job.
  • When tendering out projects and services to local construction companies, Veolia requests that 24,000 Hours of work should employ staff with professional integration difficulties (to reach 28,500 Hours from 2018 on).

Relationship to regulators and/or tariff system

There is a single tariff applying to all. Households experiencing affordability issues are directed by the Eau du Grand Lyon ‘Water for all’ team towards the suitable services, which have the capacity to cancel water bills if needed, or install other support mechanisms.

The contract is regulated by the French system, involving national competition authorities, environmental agencies, and health services at national and local level.

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