Household Water Conservation Charge
People who use large amounts of water at home may have to pay the Household Water Conservation Charge for any excess water that they use.
The charge will apply to a household’s who use water above a specified threshold. The threshold takes into account how many people live in the house.
Excess use charges are covered by the Water Services Act 2007-2017, which brought in several changes to water services and charges in Ireland.
When will excess use charges start?
The first bills for excess water usage will be issued after 1 January 2022.
Irish Water has written to households that are using an excessive amount of water and has given them information on how to conserve water and deal with leaks. This gives people time to repair leaks and reduce their household’s water usage before charges come in.
You can read more on the household water conservation charge in the frequently asked questions on water.ie.
Who pays excess use charges?
The person who actually gets water and/or wastewater services from Irish Water is liable to pay any excess use charges. This means that the occupier of the property is liable for the excess use charge.
If you own a property, it is presumed that you are the occupier, unless it is proven otherwise.
If you rent a property, you are the occupier.
Property owners must provide Irish Water with information on the occupiers of the property within 20 days of the start of a tenancy.
Who is a customer of Irish Water?
You are a customer of Irish Water if either or both of the following apply:
- Your property is connected to and supplied by a public water main for water
- Your property is connected to and uses a public sewer for wastewater removal
The charge is per service, so if you use both public water and wastewater services you will be charged excess use charges for both services.
If your water comes from a private well or a group water scheme and you have a private wastewater treatment system (such as a septic tank) you are not a customer of Irish Water and do not have to pay excess use charges.
This table shows who is considered to be a customer of Irish Water and which systems will be subject to excess use charges:
|Water supplier||Wastewater||Customer of Irish Water?|
|Public mains||Public sewer||Yes|
|Public mains||Own treatment (septic tank or wastewater treatment system)||Yes (for a single service)|
|Group water scheme||Public sewer||Yes (for a single service)|
|Group water scheme||Own treatment||No|
|Private well||Public sewer||Yes (for a single service)|
|Private well||Own treatment||No|
What is considered excess usage?
The average amount of water used by a household in Ireland is 125,000 litres per year. The excess charges threshold is 213,000 litres per year. This is 1.7 times the average amount.
In general, homes with water usage above the ‘threshold amount’ will be regarded as having excessive water usage. Homes with more than 4 residents have an additional ‘allowance amount’ of 25,000 litres per year, above the threshold amount, for each extra person living there.
|Number of residents||Annual water allowance (litres)|
How is my water usage measured?
Your water meter measures the amount of water supplied to your home. The amount of wastewater discharged is assumed to be the same as the amount of water drawn from the mains supply.
If your property does not have a meter and is suspected of excess use, Irish Water may look to install a meter or calculate your usage using alternative technology. If excess usage is detected unmetered customers will be charged at the cap (currently set at €500 per year for both water and wastewater services) – unless a meter is installed.
Can I view my water consumption online?
Yes, metered households can view their consumption by logging onto their Irish Water online account.
In certain circumstances you may be allowed increased water usage, for example, if:
- There has been a change to the number of residents at the property (see ‘Water allowance’ above) – called an ‘additional occupancy allowance’
- You have a medical need which increases your water usage – called a ‘medical need exemption’
Rates and charges
Irish Water will charge €1.85 per cubic meter (1,000 litres) for usage over the threshold (see ‘Water allowance’ above).
The charge will be capped at €250 per year for water and €250 per year for wastewater services. So, the maximum charge for excess water usage will be €500 per year.
Homeowners are legally responsible for water pipes and systems inside their dwelling and between the dwelling and the property boundary. This means that you would normally need to pay a plumber to fix a leak, whether it is inside your home or on the external supply pipe between your home and the property boundary. You can use Irish Water’s checklist to see if you have any internal leaks.
Under the First Fix Free Scheme, Irish Water will contact you by post if your water meter shows that there might be a leak on your external supply pipe. If you are eligible for the scheme (see below) Irish Water will offer to investigate the pipe and repair any identified leaks for free. Generally, this will involve fully replacing the pipe from the meter to a point as close to the dwelling as possible.
Who is eligible for the First Fix Scheme?
The First Fix Free Scheme is open to Irish Water customers who have a confirmed leak on their external supply pipe.
Previously, you had to be registered with Irish Water and have a water meter with internal stop valve to access this scheme. However, in April 2021 the scheme was extended to include customers who:
- Are not registered with Irish Water
- Do not have a meter
- Have no internal stop valve
- Have a shared service connection
- Are mixed use customers, that mainly use their water for domestic purposes
Contact details for Irish Water
To register with Irish Water
- Online: water.ie/mywater/faces/registration
- By phone: LoCall 1890 448 448 or 01 707 2824, 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5.30pm Saturday
For queries to Irish Water about water supply, metering or leaks
- Website: water.ie
- Phone: LoCall 1890 278 278 or 01 707 2828, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Minicom: 1890 378 378 (for hearing-impaired customers with their own minicom equipment)
Making a complaint
If you have a complaint about:
- Household billing or a general complaint, you can email email@example.com
- Metering or operations, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Section 8 of the Water Services Act 2014 provides for the CRU to operate a statutory dispute resolution service to handle unresolved complaints from customers of Irish Water. If you wish to use this service, you must:
- Have been a registered Irish Water customer at the time to which the complaint relates
- Have already made your complaint to Irish Water in writing
- Have completed Irish Water's complaints process and received a final decision in writing
The CRU will issue its decision on the complaint to Irish Water. It can require Irish Water to pay a refund or compensation. It may also require Irish Water to comply with its decision in respect of other customers affected by the same issue.
Complaints about water quality
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is the economic regulator of Irish Water. The CRU does not handle complaints about water quality. If you have a complaint about water quality that has not been resolved by Irish Water, you should refer it to the Environmental Protection Agency, which is the environmental regulator of Irish Water.