Utility says domestic meters key to finding leaks
Irish Water does not believe the use of district metering to identify individual homeowners using excess amounts of water would be effective.
During his evidence to the Oireachtas committee on water two weeks ago, the body's managing director Jerry Grant outlined that without meters linked directly to homes, the process by which excess water use could be located would be through sending operators around the district meter area with "sounding sticks".
This has been proposed by some members of the committee on water as an alternative to the continued roll-out of domestic water meters. But Mr Grant said: "We have almost 900,000 meters - 893,000 to be precise - and each reader in a car can read 80,000 meters over two months each quarter.
"On the basis of current statistics, that will turn up roughly 5,000 to 6,000 leaks.
"If we were to try to do that with operators with sounding sticks, identifying, locating, contacting and so on, we obviously would not get anywhere close to that figure.
"In terms of the efficiency of identifying leaks in properties, there is no comparison."
Ireland has 4,407 district meters which typically monitor usage in 1,000 to 1,500 properties.