New laws to allow hike in number of families who pay for water
Future governments will be able to increase the number of households subject to water charges under legislation being brought to Cabinet today.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is seeking approval for the legislation, which will formally end the regime brought in by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition but allow for a levy of "excessive usage".
The Government will set the definition of excessive use at 1.7 times the average household consumption. However, the Irish Independent understands there is scope to reduce this figure in future by way of a Dáil vote. The move is likely to come under fire from anti-water charge protests who suspect the new system is a backdoor to the reintroduction of charges.
The legislation says that water usage will be monitored next year. From January 2019, a household will receive a notification if they are using 1.7 times more than the average. Families will have six months to apply for an exemption if they have five or more people in the house or if a leak is discovered.