Water bills: What charges will you have to pay?

Gone are the days of limitless free tap water in Ireland. Here’s a closer look at the charges from Irish Water and how to avoid them.

Following years of protests and political debate new water charges are coming into force.

What will you have to pay?

It depends on your circumstances and how much water you use - but most households will still have nothing to pay.

However, you could have to pay the new Household Water Conservation Charge if you use too much water.

Other domestic water charges have been suspended for the foreseeable future - and refunds have been issued to those who paid water charges while they were in force.

What is the Household Water Conservation Charge?

It’s a charge for households that use an excessive amount of water, it’s being introduced to try and reduce water waste.

You might have to pay the charge if:

  • You have a metered water supply
  • You use over 213,000 litres of water per year (1.7 times the national average)

The charge is set to be €3.70 per 1,000 litres of water, with a maximum annual charge of €500.

Charges won’t begin until the end of 2020 at the earliest, but Irish Water are writing to households that could face the charge to give them time to reduce their usage and avoid having to pay.

Charges for larger properties

If you live in a larger household you can apply for an increased water allowance before charges are applied.

To qualify, there will need to be five or more people living in your property, and you’ll get an extra 25,000 litres per year for every person after the first four inhabitants.

To apply for the increased allowance you’ll need to contact Irish Water - and you may need to prove how many people are living in the property before it’s applied.

How to save water

Saving water could help you save money and avoid the Household Water Conservation Charge, and it’s also good for the environment.

Here are some of the best ways to cut your usage:

  • Check for leaks: you might not even realise you’re using a lot of water if you have a leak. Here’s how to check for leaks and find out whether you could get them repaired for free.
  • Ditch your bath: and replace it with a shower as running a bath uses much more water. If you already shower, spend less time showering to save even more water.
  • Wait till your washing machine & dishwasher are full: to cut down on how many cycles you do, rather than running half empty devices more frequently. Also try to buy appliances that use less water per cycle when it’s time to get a new machine.
  • Turn off your taps: when you’re brushing your teeth. It’s estimated that we use six litres a minute from leaving taps running while brushing our teeth.
  • Use rain water: in your garden rather than a hose. Plants prefer rain water and a water butt could collect up to 5,000 litres a year for free.

You can find more tips for saving water on the Environmental Protection Agency website and the Irish Water website.

Water bill FAQs

How will homes without a water meter be monitored?

If Irish Water suspect that an unmetered property is exceeding the limit for the Household Water Conservation Charge then they will look to install a meter, or a flow monitoring device.

I’m still waiting for my water charges refund, what should I do?

Cheques should have already been sent out to households that are due a refund. If you’re still waiting for yours you’ll need to contact Irish Water.

What is a boil water notice?

It’s a formal notice from Irish Water to boil and cool your tap water before drinking it to make it safe. If a notice is issued in your area you’ll need to boil and cool your water before using it to drink, wash food, make ice and brush your teeth. You can find out more about boil water notices on Water.ie.

What is the Water Conservation Grant?

It was a grant to help pay for water saving improvements to your home, for example fixing water leaks or installing a conservation system. Applications closed in 2015 and the grant was suspended in 2016.

What should I do if I've lost water pressure?

You can check if there are any issues with the water supply on the Irish Water website. If there are no issues in your area follow the steps listed on Water.ie.

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