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Water Metering, Water Bills and Water Conservation

Non-Domestic Water Metering

Charges for water services differ between local authorities, depending on the cost of their capital (water services infrastructure) programmes, the cost of operating their treatment plants and the cost of administering the metering /billing elements of their programmes.

In accordance with government Water Pricing Policy, local authorities are identifying and metering all the non-domestic users of their water services.  Non-domestic supplies would include supplies for trades, industry and businesses, including agriculture, hotels, B&Bs and any other short-term accommodation, and also educational or sports facilities as well as hospitals or community or charitable services.  Customers’ bills are calculated by means of a metered charge based on the volume of water used. In most cases this charge includes for water supply and sewage collection and disposal, i.e., on the basis of the “water in/water out” principle. Where the installation of a meter is impracticable, local authorities can issue bills based on a fixed charge.  Where a meter measures both a non-domestic supply and a domestic (household) supply, credit will be given for the domestic element.

The metering of non-domestic water supply connections is considered to be a more equitable way for non-domestic customers to pay for water services.  Metering is also a useful tool in identifying leaks in the water piping system and thereby benefits water conservation.

The funding of domestic water services will continue through the Water Services Investment Programme for infrastructure projects and through the Local Government Fund for operational costs.

Domestic Water Metering

Following the phased installation of water meters, households will be charged for water services based on usage in line with the government commitment. .

The Department is currently examining the various options to ensure the delivery of the metering programme in the most cost effective manner, but it is expected that the roll-out of meters will begin next year.

“Water metering will be an absolutely essential element in ensuring that we get a water system that works, that is fair and  is sustainable in the long-term.

“The metering system will allow for much better network management by local authorities, and it should also help consumers adjust their consumption patterns,” Minister Gormley said.

“International experience of reductions in water consumption would indicate that there can be significant water savings arising from the installation of meters. A recent report for the UK Government found average savings of 16 per cent per household accrued from the installation of meters.”

As a result of water metering end users will then receive a water bill calculated by the volume of water that passes through the meter. The aim of this is that the people who use more, pay more. This should raise peoples awareness regarding how much water they use, and ultimately waste. This will encourage people to embrace water conservation which will have a positive effect on the environment.

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