IFA Environment & Rural Affairs Chairman Harold Kingston has welcomed the consultation commenced by the Department of the Environment, regarding the reform of the delivery of water services in Ireland as “a necessary measure to reduce costs and duplication by the 34 county and city councils which have responsibility for water investment and maintenance.”
Mr. Kingston said, “Rural dwellers have for a long number of years paid for their own water supply, whether through a co-operative group water scheme or thought the provision of their own domestic well. Both Environment Minister Phil Hogan and the EPA have already clarified that homeowners who have their own water supply should not be subject to further water charges and this position must be re-stated as part of any reform of the water sector.”
IFA will make a comprehensive submission to the Department of Environment’s consultation on the reform of the water sector and will call for:
- A reduction in the cost of water to farmers and other users, who already pay for water, as the cost of supplying the service should be spread equally over a larger number of users of public water supply. Cost efficiencies must also be delivered through centralised administration and service delivery;
- A reduction in the annual water meter standing charge which local authorities are charging. Rural dwellers are currently being charges up to €180 every year for each water meter. The water meters can be purchased for a once off cost of less than €100;
- The introduction of leakage incentive targets, to link future water infrastructure investment by Government to a reduction in water leakage;
- The introduction of water conservation incentives, to encourage homeowners and farmers to reduce water bills and consumption by harvesting water for use at a later stage.