Tuesday 20 February 2018

Grant scheme may be established to help homeowners repair water leaks on properties

A draft report says that Irish Water should continue its ‘first-fix free’ scheme (Stock photo)
A draft report says that Irish Water should continue its ‘first-fix free’ scheme (Stock photo)
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE Dáil water committee may recommend that a grant scheme be established to help homeowners repair leaks on their properties in an effort to reduce wastage.

A draft report says that Irish Water should continue its ‘first-fix free’ scheme, where leaks into the property are repaired free of charge, but that a second scheme be established to repair subsequent leaks if they arise.

The suggested measures form part of a package of measures aimed at overcoming the impasse between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the long-running row over water.

A draft report for the Dáil Committee on the Future Funding of Water Services, which is sitting today, notes that the committee supports a referendum on the water network remaining in public ownership, and says the Public Water Forum which includes commercial and residential customers should play a greater role in policy formation.

It also says that water conservation should be “embedded” in policy, noting that “clear, usable water is not free”. To help reduce waste, the first-fix free scheme should be extended and a “modest grant scheme” introduced for subsequent leaks within the boundaries of an individual property.

It also says:

  • Irish Water should launch an education campaign at primary and post-primary level on water conservation and setting out how water is treated, and the cost.
  • Building standards should be amended to ensure that water conservation technology is employed in buildings, and tax relief be made available to cover the costs of rainwater harvesting systems and other conservation measures.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency should support research in water management and conservation, and data collected by the regulator, Irish Water and EPA should be available for research purposes.

It also suggests establishing an advisory body on a statutory basis for improving public confidence in Irish Water.

“An external advisory body should be established on a statutory basis as a matter of urgency to improve public confidence in Irish Water,” it says. “The body should be tasked with advising on measures to improve the transparency and accountability of Irish Water and providing quarterly reports to an Oireachtas committee on Irish Water's performance in implementing its business plan.”


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