Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Limerick IFA wins right for review on water charges

Martin Ryan and Darragh McCullough

Published 11/10/2011 | 05:00

Farmers have succeeded in getting a review of annual charges of up to €1,000 for water connections that they never used.

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Charges in Co Limerick are among the highest in the country with annual charges of €200 per connection and many farmers with fragmented holdings have to pay for three or more connections.

A two-year campaign by Limerick IFA for a review of the charges, which they claimed were grossly unfair, has now culminated in the local authority undertaking a review of the existing regime.

Limerick County IFA Chairman Eddie Scanlan said that farmers are not objecting to paying for water used, but there should be a reasonable ceiling on the fixed charges for connections.

"The County Council should justify why charges in Limerick county are so much higher than other counties," he said.

A survey carried out by the Farming Independent during the summer showed a huge variation in annual water charges around the country, with a variation between the cheapest and most expensive of 400pc.

Limerick was highlighted as the most expensive council in the country to maintain a water connection.

Imposed

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The €200 annual charge imposed by Limerick is exactly four times that of Monaghan, which also happens to have lower usage charges. Average standing charges nationally were closer to €105 a year.

Local authorities are precluded from making a profit on water charges under EU law. Therefore, the rates should directly reflect the cost of disinfecting, fluoridating and delivering the treated water. One of the main issues affecting the rates is the high levels of 'unaccounted for water'. A report compiled by Forfás in 2008 found that 43pc of the treated water produced in major towns is lost before it reaches the final consumer.

This may go some part of the way to explaining why annual water charges in Limerick are double that of neighbouring local authority areas in Kerry and Tipperary South.

Limerick County Council has committed to complete the review of its charges by the end of the year.

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