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Paid your water bills? You're definitely going to get some of your money back

However, the final draft of the report states that all new homes are to have water meters installed.

Image: sam boal

THE WATER COMMITTEE is expected to approve the nation’s new water strategy tomorrow, eliminating water charges and refunding those who have already paid.

The report will be up for approval tomorrow and, barring any last-minute problems, will address a number of unanswered questions regarding the water charge controversy which has rumbled on for three years.

The committee recommends that “domestic water charging as provided for under the Water Services Act 2014 be discontinued”.

However, households will still pay for water but this will be done through general taxation

It also proposes that those who have paid their water charges up until they were stopped last year should receive some of the money back, if possible.

The report stated: “In respect of those who have paid some or all of the domestic water charges, the committee recommends that, following consideration of and taking into account the fiscal implications and the most effective refund methods, such households should be compensated in an equitable manner.”

However, there are a number of issues which may lead to discontent among those who have been most vehemently opposed to the charges.

Proposals

The committee wants all new homes to be fitted with water meters. This is so that the amount of household water consumption is clear and can be used as a means of effective leak detection and conservation. They also want to figure out a way of incentivising households to voluntarily sign up for water meters for what they describe as “conservation purposes”.

It emerged last week that those who wilfully waste water will face prosecution under proposed new plans.

The draft working report proposed that “those who wilfully abuse water or permit wastage can be prosecuted”.

However, in the latest draft report, expected to be accepted by the Oireachtas tomorrow, the word ‘prosecute’ does not feature.

Instead, it states:

The committee agrees that wilful wastage of water should be curbed. Wasteful water use should be monitored utilising district water meters, existing infrastructure and modern technology in order to explicitly and progressively target wilful wastage of water. This system should be kept under review to address pollution by ensuring leakages and any other water abuse are effectively identified.

Excessive use of water will also be set a 1.7 times the average household consumption level. Under the proposed plans, those who waste water will have penalties or levies imposed on them. This, according to the report, will demonstrate that Ireland is fulfilling its responsibilities under current EU water directives.

Read: ‘I’m here today to stand up for my son’: Hundreds turn out across the country calling for better children supports >

Read: ‘It’s a heinous crime’: Fire engine stolen and stripped of lifesaving equipment in Donegal >

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