Water is a scarce resource. The best way to ensure it is consumed and supplied efficiently is to price it. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services was asked to recommend the best means of funding domestic water services. The Water Services Act 2017 provides that charges to Domestic Customers will only apply in cases where the volume of Water Services consumed exceeds the 213,000 litres annual Threshold Amount. The Act also provides for an additional Allowance Amount for Domestic Premises with more than four occupants , and for exemptions in the cases of certain medical needs. Excess use charges will be approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and will not commence until 1st January 2019 at the earliest. Bills for excess use charges will not be issued until 1st July 2019 at the earliest.
Here we consider some of the issues.
The proposal to charge for excessive use of water under the Water Services Act, 2007 is not credible.
The Report by the Expert Commission on the Funding of Domestic Public Water Services in Ireland has been submitted on schedule to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services.
Why a two-part tariff, consisting of a variable rate per unit of water consumed and a fixed rate unrelated to the amount of consumption, should be resisted.
Results of national survey that asked respondents in May 2013 for their preference on water charges: pay by use, flat charge, or general taxation.
Our Chairman, Prof. Frank Convery in The Irish Times on how increasing water supply will not provide the answer to water shortages, but effective pricing and conservation can.
Publicpolicy.ie’s seven recommendations to Government in May 2012 on water policy, including support for metering.
Residential Water Charges in Ireland
Dr Henri Smets, France’s leading water expert spoke at an event in Dublin organised by publicpolicy.ie in June 2012. Here he talks about different models for water pricing that balance the need for water charges with people’s right to water.