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You pay fees because your municipal authorities or the water board do something for you individually. You pay for a service performed. This is the case, for example, if you apply for a permit. It is not relevant whether or not your municipal authorities actually grant the permit. Your municipal authorities or water board already incurs a cost just to process your application. The municipal authorities or the water board pay for these costs using the municipal fees.

For whom?

The person or entity for which the municipal authorities perform the service. For example the applicant of a permit.

How is the tax calculated?

There are several rates. The rates depend on the service performed and the organisation or unit performing the service.