With the impending Local and European Elections it was imperative that the government announce details regarding the water charges facing each household in this country.  For this reason after weeks of debate details of those water charges were announced by the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan on the 6th May 2014.

The net effect of this announcement is that households will pay an average of €240 a year in water charges with the said annual bill payable quarterly with the first bills being issued in January 2015.  Water metering will commence from the 1st October 2014.

While Irish Water will finalise the exact details of the charges in August of this year there are a number of items that have now been confirmed.

Firstly, it is estimated that the average annual charge  per household will be €240 per annum.  Irish home owners will be given a free water allowance of 30,000 litres each year.  While 30,000 litres sounds like a significant amount of water  in fact on average each household uses 140,000 litres per annum.

In addition to the free water allowance of 30,000 litres per household a further free annual allocation of 38,000 litres will be given for each child under 18 years of age.

Charges will be capped for people with high water usage due to certain medical conditions.

The charging regime will remain fixed until the end of 2016.  The government has refused to confirm what will happen after that initial phase as it will depend on the government in charge at the time.

Plans for a standing charge of €50 has been scrapped.  The energy regulator will decide whether there will be a standing charge for second homes or holiday homes.

It has also been confirmed that there will be “ a free first fix scheme” for leaks and an accelerated metering programme.

As regards payment it was announced by the Minister that Irish Water will introduce a range of payment options for customers including an easy payment option for customers who wish to make regular payments of not less than €10 per transaction. When the full and final details are published in August of this year this topic will again be revisited in this article.

In the meantime if you are considering selling a dwellinghouse from the 1st January 2015 onwards take note that one of the additional closing requirements will be receipts from Irish Water confirming that your water charges are up to date.  This is in addition to the whole range of additional charges/taxes which have been introduced over the past number of years. These additional taxes/charges include receipts/discharges for

1. Non Principal Private Residence charge

2. Household charge

3. Local property tax

4. Septic tank registration (if applicable)

We will feature this topic again before the 1st October 2014 and confirm the final details for you