As we are aware, the controversy with Irish Water continues. The latest update, due to change with the expected announcement by government, is that the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) agreed to extend the application deadline for all to 30th November 2014.

Revised FAQs on the Water Support payment are on It will be paid to people getting the Household Benefits Package or Fuel Allowance.

Whether we like it or not, it looks like water charges are on the way.  Irish Water will, in a few week’s  time, start charging Irish households for water. During September, Irish Water will send an “application pack” to all households asking for information on the type of water and waste water they currently have. These application packs will also be used to apply for the households “free water”.

The free water allowance has been set at 30,000 litres annually per household in the primary residence with an additional 21,000 litres given per child under 18. To put this in context the free allowance for all the adults in the household works out at 80 litres per day which could be used up by one person using a power shower for 5 minutes, or  one person  having a normal shower and flushing the toilet 5 times a day. The annual allowance for under 18’s of 57 litres per day can be used up in a power shower in just 4 minutes. All water used in excess of the allowance has to be paid for.

Homeowners will be asked to provide their PPS number and the PPS number of qualifying children.  Where no “application pack” is returned, Irish Water proposes not to give any allowance.  Liability for water charges commence on 01st October 2014 with the first bill due in early 2015.

What will it cost?

If you don’t have a meter, your water bill will be based on assessed charges – see table below

Even if you do have a meter, your bill will be capped at these assessed rates for the first 9 months.

If your water is unfit to drink and a “boil water” notice has been issued, you will get a 100% discount on the water supply element of your charge, once the notice is in place for 24 hours.

After 9 months, households who used more than their free allowance will be charged accordingly to the amount used. 

Charges are currently set as follows:

  • The cost of water for a household that uses 2 water services – the public water supply and the public sewage system – is€4.88 per 1,000 litres used in excess of your free allowance
  • If you only use one water service, the rate is €2.44 per 1,000 litres used in excess of your free allowance.


The following table shows the annual assessed charges for various households after the free allowances have been taken into account:

Number of adults

Both services: water supply and wastewater

One service only: water supply or wastewater

















Low income households

The Government has confirmed that an extra €100.00 annually will be added to the Household Benefits Package to assist with the water charges.  Currently this package is paid to about 413,000 people –Over 70’s, people aged 66 to 70 on low incomes, people on disability allowance or invalidity pension and some carers.

People on Social Welfare who don’t qualify for the Household Benefits Package will be charged the full amount for their water usage (after their free allowance).

Medical Conditions

People with certain medical conditions will have their bills capped.  It has yet to be confirmed the specific medical conditions which will be covered.

Who is responsible for paying the bill?

The occupier of the household is responsible for payment.  If the householder fails to pay the charge, it shall be recoverable by Irish Water as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.  Irish Water will have measures in place to allow for ease of payment of bills.  In the case of failure to pay, Irish Water is empowered to reduce water pressure in order to restrict supply.  Water disconnection due to non-payment of domestic water charges is prohibited.  Free allowances will only be applied to households where the charges are paid in a timely manner.

Can I pay the bill in instalments?

Irish Water plans to offer a range of payment methods, including an easy payment option for regular payments of €10 or more. There is more detail under ‘Domestic payment options’ in the Irish Water Charges Plan (pdf).

How will I know how much water I am using?

Each household has a water meter outside their home.  You can check for leaks etc by lifting the lid carefully on the meter, do a reading of the meter and checking it again after a period of time when no water is being consumed in the household.

Read more in the document on water charges.

Tips to reduce your use of water:

  • Never put water down the drain when it can be used for another purpose such as watering plants or flushing toilets.
  • Use a basin in a large sink when washing dishes.
  • Ensure your home is leak free, no leaking taps and leaking toilets.
  • Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily – every flush uses between 6 and 9 litres of waterTake shorter showers…. use a timer.
  • Don’t leave the tap running when washing your teeth.
  • Fill the basin while washing or shaving rather than letting the tap run.
  • Wash full loads in your washing machine – full loads use less water.
  • Store drinking water in the fridge rather than letting the tap run each time to get cold water.
  • When replacing appliances such as a washing machine look for models that use less water.
  • Invest in a water butt- this is a bin like structure that gathers rainwater from your roof and downpipes. The rainwater can then be used for watering plants and cleaning outside.
Published: 10 October 2014