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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Coalition slashes free water allowance for children

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

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Water charges
Water charges
Adult children living at home won't get an extra allowance.

CHILDREN will be given enough free water for just one shower and one toilet flush a day – despite Government promises that parents wouldn't have to pay for any water used by their kids.

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The so-called free allowance for children has been slashed from 104 litres a day to 57 litres.

The reduction came about after Irish Water said children don't use much water and the regulator accepted their argument, which was based on meter readings.

Every household will get a basic free allowance of 30,000 litres and parents will get an additional 21,000 litres of water per child up to the age of 18.

Adult children living at home won't get an extra allowance.

Additional allowances for people with medical conditions who require higher levels of water usage will also be given an extra free allowance, but this has yet to be worked out.

Rates

Fianna Fail environment spokesman Barry Cowen called on the regulator to publish the figures around the consumption rates for children, adults and people with medical conditions.

Before the local and European elections, the Government said the water allowance for children would be 38,000 litres.

"Households will receive an additional free allowance for every child under 18 to cover a child's normal consumption of water supplied and waste water treated – this will be up to 38,000 litres per annum – the level of consumption underpinning this allowance to be verified from actual metering data provided to the CER; effectively, water charges will only apply to adults," a statement from the Government said in early May.

The Commission for Energy Regulations said that Irish Water submitted analysis from its household research on metered consumption to back up its water charges plan.

Household consumption was calculated as 66,000 litres a year for a single occupancy household, with an additional 21,000 litres per annum for each additional adult.

As a result, Irish Water proposed to apply the same amount of 21,000 litres for children.

The CER said the country's leading economic think tank, the ESRI, backed up the Irish Water figures.

Irish Independent

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