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Dublin: 5°C Monday 19 April 2021

Households which waste water 'to face prosecution' under proposed new plans

There are also plans to give some money back to those who paid the charges.

Water meters on the ground.
Water meters on the ground.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THOSE WHO “WILFULLY” waste water will face prosecution under proposed new plans currently under consideration by the Oireachtas.

The draft working report which looks to address Ireland’s obligations under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) has proposed that “those who wilfully abuse water or permit wastage can be prosecuted”.

It also stated that sanctions can be imposed “which when taken with the other measures proposed in this report, will address the wastage of water thereby demonstrating that Ireland is meeting its obligations under WFD”.

The report also determined that it is not the job of the water committee to determine what constitutes excessive domestic usage. This should be decided by Commissioner for Energy Regulation (CER).

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.”

Last month, it emerged that Fine Gael had submitted that it should be obligatory for all new-build homes to have a water meter installed, however, the following submission was today deleted from the report:

The committee recommends that all new dwellings and dwelling refurbishments should be legally required to have water meters installed in order that the amount of household water consumption is clear to users and as a means of effective leak detection and conservation.

It’s believed Right 2 Water TDs and Fianna Fáil opposed the submission, but it’s understood that Fine Gael might try to re-insert the line at a later stage.

Both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil have called for the complete cessation of the water metering programme.

The committee has until 14 April to deliver its report. It will then go to the Dáil for a vote.

There had been fears that penalising water wastage wouldn’t be enough to comply with the EU’s directives on water. However, these fears have been allayed as it emerged that existing legislation can deal with water wasters.

Read: Poll: Are you in favour of water services remaining in public ownership? >

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