More than 30,000 Irish homes have been identified as having suspected water leaks with more than €1,000 worth of water draining from the pipes of some homes in just three months, according to Irish Water.
The leaks were detected during the utility’s first meter readings covering the period January to March this year.
It has now contacted 2,500 of the worst affected customers offering them a free leak investigation under its interim First Fix Scheme.
The utility said the leaks identified were wasting an estimated 46 million litres of water per day - enough to fill 18 Olympic size swimming pools, or fulfil Limerick City’s water needs for 24 hours.
According to the meter readings, 2,500 customers were losing more than 2,000 litres of water every day through leaks.
Almost half of the water lost each day, at around 20 million litres per day, is as a result of leaks at just 1,100 properties.
That is enough water to meet the daily water demand of 70,000 homes.
"Our national metering programme is well ahead of schedule and is already of huge benefit in tackling leakage," said Irish Water's Head of Asset Management Jerry Grant.
“Customers who have a meter can see their usage on the reverse side of the bill.”
In the first week of billing 150 customers were found to have leaks that meant they used in excess of €1,000 worth of water over the three months.
While information on how much water is being used in a property is detailed on bills, no-one will be charged more than €65 for water in the first quarter.
In each case where significant amounts of water usage were identified, a constant flow alarm on the customers’ meter was activated.
This entitles the householder to a free leak investigation as part of Irish Water’s First Fix Scheme.
If the leak is found on the customer’s external supply pipe; which connects the meter box and the point of entry to the house, it will be fixed by Irish Water at no cost.
If the leak is inside the house then customers will have to arrange and pay for the repair.
Meanwhile, an Irish Water contractor carrying out a leak investigation on St Laurence Rd in Clontarf in north Dublin was briefly blocked in by up to 10 protestors on Wednesday afternoon.
Gardaí were called to the scene and the van was allowed leave.