Cllr. Deirdre Heney has advised her constituents to submit their views on the Governments’ new quango ‘Irish Water’ which will take over the water investment and maintenance programmes of the 34 City and County Councils nationwide.

“This LAB/FG Government is also embarking on the roll-out of a water metering campaign which will allow a charging system for water in households.  A free allowance of water before charges kick in is mentioned.

Your views are now sought on this proposal by close of business on 24th February 2012.  You can email your submission to water@environ.ie or send it in writing marked ‘consultations on the establishment of a public water utility’ to Water Services Section, Dept. of the Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.

Water services cost over €1.2bn to run annually.  This is made up of €500 m in capital expenditure and €700 m in operational costs.  The Minister says we are the only OECD country where households do not directly pay for water.

I note the Government speaks of a national approach and of attracting foreign investment.  Perhaps there is merit in aspects of the Government’s plans.  Equally however, I have heard concerns being expressed that this may mean urban households will pay for water & sewerage services in rural areas where the infrastructure is not as advanced.

How much free water will a household get before charges kick in?  Penalising waste is in order but will the free allowance be sufficient to cover normal usage? Will it be based on size of house, number of occupants, age of and demands of different age categories?

Now it the time to have your say.  More details are available on the Department of the Environment website”.