Hunger for history


The Société wallonne des eaux is a key public actor in the water sector in Wallonia. Since its creation, the SWDE has done its utmost to ensure an optimal service for its customers.

Barrage d'EupenOur history

We have been at the service of municipalities and their inhabitants for over a century.

  • The first running water systems appeared in the middle of the 19th century. The infrastructure grew, cities began to have their own water service. To help municipalities that lacked resources, in 1913 the State created the SNDE (National Water Distribution Company).
  • The country gradually equipped itself with water distribution systems and production facilities (e.g. dams).
  • In 1986, the water policy was assigned to the regions. The SNDE was split into two sections. In Flanders, the VMW (Flemish Water Distribution Company) sees the light of day. In the south of the country, the Walloon Region created the Société wallonne des distributions d’eau (Walloon Water Distribution Company).
  • The name was shortened at the beginning of 2001. From then on, SWDE has stood for Société wallonne des eaux. This new name coincided with a change of status, which made the SWDE an autonomous public company. The company is bound by a management contract with the Region that is renewable on a periodic basis.
  • In 2006, a new decree confirmed the SWDE's federative role in the drinking water production and distribution sectors. It was also at this time that the role of local authorities was enhanced within the bodies of the SWDE.
  • 2007 marked the start of the management contract that ran until 2012. During this period, the SWDE focused its attention on the rational use of water and customer service optimisation.
  • A new internal structure  was put in place in 2010. It is based on three clusters of operational activities: production, distribution and the commercial service.
  • In 2012, the SWDE's Management Committee developed an ambitious business plan that foreshadowed the objectives and mission of the 2012-2016 management contract.
  • The Management Contract has been renewed in 2017 for the 2018-2022 period. The road is paved towards 6 major goals :
    • Control the price of water
    • Secure the supply
    • To guarantee the quality of the water
    • Provide optimal customer service
    • Contribute to sustainable development
    • Strengthen water governance

The SWDE is today Wallonia's largest drinking water production and distribution company. Its distribution system stretches over 40,000 km. It covers nearly 200 municipalities and has over one million connections. The SWDE supplies drinking water to nearly 2.4 million consumers, i.e. over 70% of the Walloon population.

Approvisionnement en eau