Drip drip: what exactly does the water charges report say?

Report addresses issues of refunds, metering, and over-use

 

The Oireachtas committee examining the water charges issue is due to issue a report outlining its reccommendations on the water charges issue.

A draft of the final report includes refunds for householders who paid their charges, the funding of domestic water services through general taxation, and the installation of meters at apartment blocks.

The committee is due to vote on its final report on Thursday after weeks of meetings and major disagreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on whose support the minorty government relies.

Here are the main issues addressed in the draft report:

Refunds:

The Oireachtas committee on water charges has agreed to refund householders who paid their levies.

The report states: “In respect of the most cost efficient mechanism of adhering to the principle of equity of treatment for those who have paid and have not paid water charges the Committee recommends that, following consideration of payments made by the state to date through the water conservation grant and the most effective refund methods, such households should be compensated in an equitable manner.”

Committee on water's draft report

Funding model:

The commitments contained in the report include a recommendation to fund domestic water usage through general taxation.

The report states: “The Committee recommends that following a review of feasible options including the Water Services Act 2007 and new legislation, if required, the Government must: a) Introduce measures to provide funding certainty for the water utility over a long term multi-annual budgetary cycle dedicated from within existing general taxation, and; b) ensure that this funding goes directly to the water utility for the specific purpose of investing into the water infrastructure so as to ensure full compliance with Ireland’s EU obligations under the WFD.

Usage, waste and fines:

The Commission for Energy Regulation will determine a figure for normal usage and penalties will apply to those who use 70 per cent above that figure. However the level of the financial penalties has not been determined.

The report states: “The Committee agrees that wilful wastage of water should be curbed. Wasteful water use should be monitored utilising district water meters, existing infrastructure and modern technology in order to explicitly and progressively target wilful wastage of water”.

“The Committee recommends that CER should determine average consumption levels, which the committee understands to be currently 133 litres per day per person, and that the threshold indicating wasteful/abusive use should be set at 1.7 times this level above which is deemed to be wasteful/abusive save where proven otherwise. Appropriate allowances should be made for exceptional household circumstances.”

Metering:

The metering programme will be abandoned but bulk metering will be installed in apartment complexes. It recommends giving incentives to householders who choose to install meters at their homes.

The report states: “The Committee recommends that the water utility place a high priority on investment aimed at ensuring that district water metering, existing infrastructure and modern technology are used in the most effective way possible to support the reduction of leakages”.

“The Committee recommends that bulk metering be installed for multi-unit developments such as apartment blocks.

“ The Committee recommends that all new dwellings should be required to have the facilities to enable householders to install water meters if they so wish”.