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Water Committee ‘Close to Full Abolition of Water Charges’ – Ó Broin

29 March, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that the “Oireachtas Water Committee is close to the full abolition of water charges”. The comments were made following a positive meeting of the Water Committee, which is now expected to conclude its report next week.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Significant progress was made at the Oireachtas Water Committee today. We are now close to the full abolition of water charges.

“The Expert Group Report recommended a charge for so-called excessive use of water. This is now no longer on the table.

“If the in principle agreement made today is contained in the final report, water charges in all their forms are gone.

“The Committee is now considering whether to apply a new procedure for tackling abuse and wilful waste of water. 

“The proposal is that where a household’s water use is 70% above the average a process will be put in place to determine whether this use is justified due to, for example, household size and composition or medical need. 

“Where such exemptions do not apply and leaks are detected in the property, incentives will be provided to have the leaks fixed.

“In cases where householders are unwilling to fix identified leaks, penalties would apply. 

“While 8% of households currently have water usage >70% above average, the majority of these would be exempt from any penalty either due to exemptions or leak detecting and remedy.

“In all likelihood, penalties would only apply to a tiny number of households who continue to allow large volumes of water to be wasted even when it is brought to their attention.

“This is a far cry from the Expert Commission’s proposal to charge for so-called excessive use. If implemented, it would mean an end to domestic metered water charges. 

“The Water Committee report will also record a host of measures to promote conservation and increased investment in our water and sanitation system to ensure that people get the first class public service that they deserve, fully compliant with Irish and EU environmental obligations.” 

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