TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has indicated that the government is almost ready to tell homeowners how much water will cost them from October.
Speaking on the News at One, the Labour leader said, “We have made a lot of progress on the issue of water charges.”
“Indeed we did a lot of work on it over the course of the weekend. And I expect now that we will be discussing it at the Cabinet tomorrow morning.”
Asked whether a final payment structure will be communicated to the public this week, Gilmore responded:
Yes, I expect that we will be dealing with this tomorrow morning and we will be able to bring clarity to it.
The Minister said the regime will be “fair and reasonable”, with payment based on usage and a free allowance available to people.
He also noted that “different types of family circumstance” will be taken into account, citing examples of families with children and “somebody with a medical situation”.
“What we’re delivering in government is a way that we can conserve water. We know that about 40 per cent of the water being produced is leaking and being wasted,” he added.
What we will emerge with is a formula that will encourage households to conserve water but also enable households to reduce their bill.
Gilmore denied claims that water charges had started a bitter row between Fine Gael and Labour, telling the presenter that issues often take government weeks and months to resolve.
Latest media reports have indicated that the mooted €50 standing charge for water services will be scrapped but that could mean a higher per-litre charge for all households. The average annual cost for a household has been estimated at €240.
Irish Water has started installing water meters across the country with a view to begin billing in January 2015.