Over half households could still face water charges

Most homes use more water daily than recommended free allowance - Irish Water

In response to questions from Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Mick Barry, Irish Water chief Jerry Grant said setting daily water allowance was a policy matter. Photograph: Eric Luke

More than half of the country’s households could still face domestic water charges if the expert commission’s recommendations are implemented, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

The expert commission has proposed the State allow each household a free daily allowance and estimated it could be in the region of 123 litres per person per day.

Householders would then be asked to pay for anything above their average allowance.

Appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services , Irish Water managing director Jerry Grant said more than half of the population use more than 123 litres a day.


In response to questions from Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Mick Barry, Mr Grant said setting the allowance was a policy matter.

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has said he believes 123 litres would be an acceptable daily allowance.

The average usage in Ireland is about 46,000 litres a year, but figures given to the committee by Irish Water show most homes use more than this.

Billing spending

This would mean they would have to make a payment if the commission’s report is accepted.

Irish Water also told the Oireachtas committee it spends an annual €25 million on billing its customers.

It said €13 million was spent in distributing bills, the call centre based in Co Cork cost €10 million to run and there was a further €2 million in staff costs. The committee was told this money would be saved if a decision was taken to abolish water charges.

Meanwhile, chief executive of Ervia, Michael McNicholas, defended the utility’s spend on consultants, insisting they were “international experts”.

He insisted €73 million was not wasted and was spent on expert advice necessary to establish the company.

The money was spent on building the necessary software and computer systems needed to establish a national water services company, he added.