Householders will still be able to beat the meter and avoid paying the flat-rate water charge if they reduce consumption in their homes.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly has insisted that families and single people can avoid paying more than the capped charge if they reduce wastage and install water-saving devices using the €100 Water Conservation Grant, which will be available from September next year. Single people will pay €60 per year for water, if they register and receive the €100 payment from Social Protection. The capped annual bill for households with two or more adults is €160, with the subsidy.
Average consumption is estimated at around 145 litres per person per day, but citizens of other countries where water charges already apply use less.
The figure for some Scandinavian countries is around 110 litres per person pay day.
Using the average, each person in the State consumes almost 53,000 litres of water a year. Based on a tariff of €3.70 per 1,000 litres, that equates to an annual bill of €196 if bills were based solely on metered consumption - €36 more than the single-person flat-rate charge, and before the €100 subsidy is taken into account.
To reduce it below the flat charge, consumption would have to drop to 43,000 litres per person - or by 27 litres a day.
Irish Water will issue advice through its website and with bills outlining the measures required to reduce usage. They include simple water-saving tips like turning off taps when brushing teeth, to not using appliances unless they are full and. Other measures include capturing rainwater for use in the garden.