Water fees 'must be kept to a minimum'

Denis Drennan
Denis Drennan
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Farms and small businesses cannot carry excessive water fees as a result of the Government decision not to impose domestic charges, the ICMSA has insisted.

Commenting on the recent decision to consolidate water connection charges nationally, the ICMSA's farm and rural affairs chair, Denis Drennan, said the fees imposed by Irish Water must be kept to an absolute minimum.

A consultation process is being carried out by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) over the next few months ahead of setting a national charging structure for non-domestic water users.

However, these charges are unlikely to be agreed until the final quarter of the year.

The new rates of water connection charges put the cost of a one-inch (25mm) pipe connection at €2,272, while a 1.25-inch (32mm) connection costs €8,781.

The decision on charges was issued by the CRU, following a consultation process. The new charges will come into forced from April.

Irish Water confirmed that it will complete all of the connection works in the public side of the boundary, providing a standard national connection service.

All connections outside the standard connection will acquire quotable charges. The customer will be responsible for all works on their side of the boundary.

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Meanwhile, farmers who abstract over 25,000 litres (25 cubic metres) per day have been reminded that they must register with the EPA.

It is understood that the EPA is to write to farmers reminding them that they must register with the agency under EU regulations if they are using this volume of water from wells, lakes or rivers.

The EPA estimates that just 10-15pc of units in the farm sector that abstract 25 cubic metres or more per day have been registered to date.

The official deadline for registration passed on November 16, 2018. However, the process is still open.

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