Water charging abolished in Ireland after parliamentary vote
Water services in Ireland will be funded by general taxation after the Dail, Ireland's parliament, accepted a recommendation that only ‘excessive use’ should attract direct water charges.
The Dáil voted by 96 votes to 48 to accept the recommendations of a report by the Committee on the Future Funding of Water Services. This followed a deal between the two leading political parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, on the issue which has proved highly controversial in the Republic since water charging was introduced alongside a metering programme, in 2014.
Around 92 per cent of the country will pay nothing for their water under the new arrangements, with only those showing excessive use – defined as usage that is 70 per cent above the average household use of 133 litres per person per day – having to pay a levy.
Meters that are in place will be used to calculate this usage, but there will be no compulsory roll-out of meters to households that are currently non-metered. However, new build properties in Ireland will be required to have meters fitted, and bulk metering will be implemented for multi-unit developments such as apartment blocks. The Government will also consider how best to incentivise voluntary take-up of meters.
The Water Services Act 2007 will be amended in order to impose levies on householders who waste water, rather than fines. Householders who have already paid water charges will receive refunds.
Meanwhile, Irish Water will continue to operate with its funding coming from general taxation; in order to provide certainty, the Government will be required to factor this into its annual budget. A referendum has also been promised on whether Irish Water should have its public ownership enshrined in the constitution.
- National Infrastructure Plan reveals £25.6bn of water sector work The government has published its latest National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) factsheet including 28 programmes and one... Read More >
- Irish Water begins Belmullet wastewater work Irish Water has started construction on a new €9M wastewater treatment plant in Belmullet, County Mayo which will end the... Read More >
- Isle Utilities joins forces with merchant bank Turquoise International, the specialist energy and environment merchant bank, has teamed up with cleantech innovation... Read More >
- Comment: What could retail competition do for customers? Domestic retail competition could provide an opportunity to look again at how we determine the price of water to the... Read More >
- Comment: Sludge all set for reform The opening of the bioresources market presents water companies with an opportunity to do things differently, but what... Read More >
- Interview: Ben Jeffs, Chief Executive, MOSL “The whole industry has really mobilised around market opening, and the water companies deserve credit for that.” Read More >
- Close-Up: Who will be the big fish in the new water retail market? With a £2.5BN new market for non-domestic water retail to open in England in April, joint ventures, incumbents and new... Read More >
- Water Industry Procurement: could Brexit provide a fresh start? Could Brexit lead to a re-examination of the procurement rules which govern the water industry and other infrastructure... Read More >