Water in Ireland should be paid for through taxation, says commission
Water in Ireland should be paid for through taxation with the majority of people not paying direct water charges, according to a report from an Irish government-appointed commission.
The final report of the Expert Commission on Domestic Public Water Services, which was set up in June by then Minister for the Environment Simon Coveney, recommended that an allowance for domestic water use should be calculated on the basis of the number of people living in each home. Households displaying ‘normal’ water use would have their water paid for by direct taxation with only ‘wasteful’ usage attracting a charge, said the report.
“Water is essential for human life,” it says. “It is expensive to produce water for consumption, to treat wastewater, and to renew infrastructure. Therefore, water services must be paid for – through taxation, tariffs, or some combination of both.”
However, it adds: “Not having a specific charge for water does not mean that water does not have to be paid for by the citizen. Having considered various options and the background to the current situation, the expert commission has reached the conclusion that the optimal arrangement that should now be put in place is one that involves the funding of water services, for normal domestic and personal use, as a charge against taxation. The system should be predicated on an acceptance that access to adequate clean water for living requirements should not be determined by affordability.
“A distinction must, however, be made between a right to water for normal domestic and personal purposes and wasteful usage. The former can reasonably be regarded as a public service that should be funded out of taxation and which the State should provide for all citizens. Where water is used at a level above those normal requirements, that principle is no longer applicable and the user should pay for this use through tariffs.”
The commission also criticised the rollout of water meters by Irish Water and called for a referendum on whether the utility should be put into public ownership. It left open the question of whether or how quickly meters should continue to be installed, saying that this was a policy choice and beyond its terms of reference. It said that it is confident that all of its proposals comply with EU law and water directives.
The recommendations of the commission will now go to a specially-formed government committee to consider.
- Greywater recycling could cut water consumption The College of Estate Management (CEM) is urging the government and water companies to do more to explain the importance... Read More >
- Defra slams 'false' compulsory metering reports Defra has described media reports that there will be compulsory water meters for millions of households following a... Read More >
- Regulator tells Irish Water to cut planned spending The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) the economic regulator of Irish Water, has told the utility to reduce its... Read More >
- The end of 'business as usual' in the water sector? James Connolly, head of partnerships at digital asset and works management company eviFile, assesses the message coming... Read More >
- C-MeX: Keeping the customer satisfied Ofwat's new customer measure of experience (C-MeX) is now being road-tested and water companies will start to be judged... Read More >
- Data Protection and Brexit - Is your organisation prepared? Guidance to help businesses and charities continue to comply with data protection law after the UK leaves the EU Read More >
- Ofwat's assessments keep water companies in check The regulator's initial assessment of water companies' business plans reveals that a tight financial settlement is on the... Read More >
- Opinion: How will the UK protect the environment after Brexit? The Draft Environment (Principles & Governance) Bill leaves several unanswered questions about the enforcement of the... Read More >