Irish Water has been given the go-ahead to charge households that use too much water in a bid to improve conservation of the supply.
The Commission for Regulatory of Utilities (CRU) approved proposals on Tuesday to impose charges on households with excessive usage.
It estimates that almost 80,000 households currently use more than the domestic household water allowance of 213,000 litres per year – set in 2017.
Our SLA Lead Engineer for Galway City and County, Tim OâConnor, joined @KFshowÂ earlier on @gbayfmÂ earlier raising awareness of our conservation campaign and how we should all only use what we need to #ConserveWater. See https://t.co/N0hJZMuLH1 for more. pic.twitter.com/GWG1OfhfRL— Irish Water (@IrishWater) July 17, 2019
CRU found that approximately 7-10% of metered domestic households currently use in excess of this annual allowance.
These households, many of which may have leaks, account for almost 40% of all domestic water consumption in Ireland.
Consumers have 12 months to address possible leaks and usage activity before receiving a bill.
After that, they will be charged 1.85 euro per 1,000 litres consumed over the annual allowance.
The charges are aimed at encouraging conservation by Irish Water customers.
It comes as Irish Water made an appeal to the public to only use the water they need in an effort to safeguard the supply.
A new survey, conducted by Behaviours and Attitudes for Irish Water, found 52% of people admit they waste water and 25% believe they do not need to conserve water because of the level of rainfall in Ireland.
The supplier launched a conservation campaign on Wednesday encouraging people to be mindful of the amount of water they use because of the economic and environmental cost of providing safe, clean drinking water.
Irish Water head of asset management Sean Laffey said: “Bad storms followed by the prolonged drought last year really showed people that safe, clean, treated water is not in unlimited supply and that we all have to play a part in conserving it.
“It was really encouraging last summer to see on social media and elsewhere the conservation measures that people were taking in their homes and businesses.
“However when the urgency of a drought passes, it is easy to lose focus on how precious water is. This is despite the fact that the financial and environmental impact of treating and providing drinking water does not decrease as rainfall increases.
“We are encouraging everyone to play their part and use only what they need.”
The company admitted leakage is a massive problem but it said it has a plan in place and is fixing more than 1,500 leaks every month.
The current national leakage rate is 43%. Some 1.7 billion litres of water is collected, treated and pumped to homes, businesses, hospitals and farms across Ireland every day.