Paying for our water supply

On 1 January the water services in Louth will transfer to the new Irish Water Company, and this company will charge all customers for the service.

Water metres will be installed by the middle of next year and householders will be charged for using water from 2015.

Louth Local Authorities will continue to operate the water service in conjunction with Irish Water for 12 years through a service level agreement to ensure all is well.

However, some Dundalk Town Councillors have expressed their concerns about the transfer of water management to an individual company.

A total of €730 million in gross water costs will transfer to Irish Water from next year while E244 million will be paid back to local authorities for providing water services under the terms of the service level agreement.

Irish Water will pay commercial rates of about €42 million to local authorities, money that will come from the ordinary householder.

One of the most interesting points raised in the whole matter has come from the Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny said: “the standard must be raised so that the network is fit for purpose”.

Thirty-seven per cent of water is wasted in Dundalk. In other parts of the country it is much higher.

The plan is to get the national average down to 16 per cent.

Local authorities like Dundalk Town Council and Louth County Council have staff with the expertise and experience to help bring about this transition.

But they do have the money.

It costs money to provide water. It does not flow uphill. It has to be processed. So we have to pay for water.

It might make more sense to have one single company running the water supply, provided the customer does not end up paying for everything.

The service level agreement over a 12-year period should go a long way to ensure that does not happen.


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