Irish Water Charges Explained: What will it mean for my Family?

Sharon Tighe

September 30, 2014

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With so much talk about Irish Water & Water Charges in the media in recent weeks, it’s hard to keep up with what it all means, especially for Irish families. Like it or not, Water Charges are kicking in on October 1st, and even though you won’t receive your first bill until January, now is the time to start thinking about your water usage & hopefully avoid any nasty shocks! Changes announced on September 30th mean that a family of 2 adults & 2 kids will pay an annual Water Charge of €278, but what does this all mean? To ease you through this, we have put together some Q&A on the topic of Irish Water Charges Explained and what it will mean for families:

irish water LogoQ: What happens if you ignore the register letter & don’t sign up?

Every home should have received a letter from Irish Water by now asking you to sign-up for water charges and to apply for any free water allowances that you may be entitled to. If you ignore these letters and refuse to pay water charges, you could face restrictions to your water supply as well as higher bills, as you won’t receive your allowances.

Q: What allowances are families entitled to & how will they work?

Each household is entitled to a free annual water allowance of 30,000 litres, which means the first 30,000 litres of water that you use are free. (To find out what 30,000 litres means to you, see below)

You can add an extra 21,000 litres of water a year for each child in your home under 18, but be warned, this allowance is only payable if your child is eligible for Child Benefit so if your child is 17 & not in full-time education, you will not be able to claim.

If you are worried about making payments, Irish Water plans to introduce a range of payment instalment options, including one where you can make regular payments of €10 or more.

You won’t have to pay Irish Water charges if your only source of water is your own private well or if you are on a Group Water Scheme with your own private wastewater treatment such as a septic tank. You must still fill out the form though & return it to Irish Water to let them know of your situation.

Families living in areas where the water is unfit for human consumption will not pay any water supply charge so long as a ‘Boil Water Notice’ has been in place for more than 24 hours. These homes will still be liable for water treatment services if they do not have their own private treatment facility.

Q: How far will 30,000 litres go?

30, 000 litres is not a lot of water & it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get by using only this amount.

For example, if you have a traditional toilet cistern in your home (as opposed to a dual-flush one) you will potentially use 13 litres of water every time you flush!

Flush it 6 times a day & you will have used 28,470 litres in one year, almost all of your allowance without turning on a tap or using the washing machine!

My son’s national school recently collected data from parents using a simple survey to estimate water consumption & the average daily use per home was calculated at 494 litres or 105 litres per person! This infographic also displays what we are using the most water on:


Q: Exactly how much am I going to have to pay for water & is there any way I can reduce this cost?

The Commission for Energy Regulation announced on September 30th that customers of Irish Water will have their metered charges capped at an assessed rate for the first 9 months of use. This means a family of 2 adults + 2 kids will pay around €278 per year, which is the assessed rate of 2 adults over 18 (children are free within this capped rate). Irish Water Customers will receive a rebate if their meter shows they have used less water than the standard assessed charge amount. Once metered charges kick in, the proposed charge is €2.44 per 1,000 litres, after you have used your free allowance of 30,000 litres & any other allowances that you may qualify for.

So now is a good time to start monitoring your family’s water use! Check out our 8 Tips for Reducing Water Use

Reducing use will reduce costs! Here are some examples to give you an idea of how much these daily activities will cost once metered charges are in place & after you have used your allowance!

  • A daily 10 minute Power Shower will cost €284 a year. (A non-power shower uses half the amount)
  • A toilet flushed by 3 people, 4 times each a day will cost approximately, €170 a year. (Using an 8 litre cistern)
  • Running your washing machine once a day will use 27,000 litres a year and cost €133. (One load= 75 litres)
  • Running your dishwasher twice a day will cost about €56 a year in water charges.(One load= 16 litres)

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Published On: September 30th, 2014 / Categories: For Parents / Last Updated: February 17th, 2019 / Tags: /

About the Author: Sharon Tighe

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Mum, Sharon, loves to write about travel and technology.

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