By Chris King •
Updated: 05 Feb 2023 • 3:59
Image of a woman drinking a glass of water.
On Thursday, February 2, the Castilla y Leon branch of the Spanish consumer’s association FACUA, denounced the Segovian restaurant La Olma de Pedraza before the Territorial Service of Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Junta de Castilla y Leon for charging its customers €4.50 for a glass of tap water.
In the “Our menu” section of the website of this Segovian establishment, there is, among other items to be charged, the segment that reads: “tap water service (per person), we will give you free water”. The owner of the restaurant insisted that the charge is not for the water, but for the service.
The association sent a letter to La Olma de Pedraza on January 16 urging it to withdraw the aforementioned charge for serving tap water to customers from its online publicity.
According to a statement released by FACUA in Castilla y Leon, it understands that the fact of stating in the online menu that ‘we give you the water’ means that what is charged relates to filling the glass and bringing it to the table, is a tortious interpretation of the norm by the company.
Article 18.3 of Law 7/2022, of April 8, on waste and contaminated soil for a circular economy, establishes that: “In establishments in the hotel and restaurant sector, consumers or clients must always be offered users of its services, the possibility of consuming unpackaged water free of charge and complementary to the offer of the same establishment”.
FACUA Castilla y Leon highlighted that, since the entry into force of this regulation, catering establishments cannot charge consumers for tap water.
Given the lack of response, the association has denounced these practices before the competent body. In its claim, the association asked the Junta de Castilla y Leon to take the appropriate measures and requested the opening of a disciplinary file against the establishment for charging customers for the tap water service.
In statements to the Atlas Agency, the owner of the restaurant justified the charge for the water service: “That takes a lot of work, and why do I have to give away that work for free?”, as reported by 20minutos.es.
However, in practice, it often happens that in many Spanish establishments bottled water is offered by default and it is the diner who has to specify that they want it free and from the tap.
Communities like Andalucia have served free water to customers by law for years. “If you’re drinking at the bar, I don’t think that’s a problem”, said some customers in this community. In some cases, the solution to prevent the service from being costly for the establishment is to install a self -service system with carafes or jugs on the counter for thirsty customers.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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