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Irish Water explains what will happen its meters in 15 years

Irish Water has confirmed the lifespan of its equipment.

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Updated 1.42pm

IRISH WATER HAS issued a statement to explain what will happen to its meters in 15 years time, when the manufacturers’ design life runs out.

Earlier today, an email from the utility revealed that the 1.2 million meters being installed across the country may not last past 2029.

A representative told Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath that the ”manufacturer’s design life of a domestic water meter is in the order of 15 years”.

However, this afternoon, Irish Water told TheJournal.ie that it “will not be repeating the metering programme”.

“There will be no wholesale replacement of meters in 15 years time,  in practice they are maintained and replaced over a much longer period, slowly, and at a fraction of the original cost of installation,” the spokesperson continued.

It should be noted that the majority of the cost of the current metering programme is incurred in the construction phase i.e. the preparation work involved before the meter box is installed. This is a one off capital cost. There is no such cost involved in the maintaining of meters.

It added that while 15 years is the manufacturers’ minimum.

“Experiences in the UK prove the life span of meters to be considerably longer than that. Meters installed over 20 years ago are still in operation.”

Earlier, Irish Water said the longevity of the equipment will depend on its usage and the quality of water passing through it.

“Experience from Ireland and the UK is that domestic meters installed during the 1990s are still performing accurately and since that time technology, materials and manufacturing has improved,” the initial email said.

The company also plans to introduce a “rigorous testing regime” to monitor the performance of the meters in order to plan a “meter replacement strategy” which will cost about €5 million per year.

“Irish Water will be no different to Gas Networks Ireland and ESB who assign a budget every year for the maintenance of meters,” it claimed.

The installation of water meters is expected to cost in the realm of €540 million. Fixed prices have been set until the end of 2018 by government – efforts to appease large scale protests. Meters will be used until then for detecting leaks, lead and consumption patterns.

McGrath told the Irish Examiner that he fears meter replacement programmes will lead to inevitable price hikes “down the track”.

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