Excess use

The Water Services Act 2017 sets household water services allowances and provides for charges for household usage over the allowance. As part of the process to implement excess use charges, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has published a decision paper after a public consultation on Irish Water’s proposals. The decision by the CRU includes how a domestic customer may be liable for excess use charges, the process through which a customer may be billed, the level of the charge, and how metered and unmetered customers will be billed. Irish Water will begin writing to customers shortly who are using in excess of 213,000 litres with advice on conservation and our first fix leak repair programme.

Annual allowance 

As set out in legislation, each household will receive an annual allowance for water services and no charges will apply for water services used up to the allowance threshold amount. The default annual allowance is 213,000 litres for households. Households with more than four occupants will be entitled to a higher allowance. All water services used above the allowance threshold are considered to be excessive and may be liable for charges.

Checking for and repairing leaks

One reason for high water use can be a leak in the internal plumbing. Checking for and repairing leaks around your home could prevent you from being liable for excess charges. Repairing leaks can also help to prevent issues like reduced water pressure or water supply disruptions potentially affecting your home.

Visit our Water Leaks in the Home page to help you find out if you have a leak in your internal plumbing.  

First Fix Free Scheme

If you do not find any leaks inside your home, we can do a free leak check of the water supply pipe outside your home. This is part of our First Fix Free scheme. The First Fix Free scheme aims to help reduce the amount of water wasted through leaks on customers' properties. It is estimated that over 115 million litres of water per day is being saved as a result of First Fix repairs. To find out more, visit our First Fix Free section. 

Check your water usage

Register for an online account and find out how much water you use. You will need your WPRN and Account number. 

If you would like to update your account details, please phone us on 1850 278 278. Lines are open from 9am – 2pm, Monday - Friday. Please note that the rates charged for 1850 numbers may vary across different service providers. Calls from mobiles may be more expensive.

Sign up now

Excess usage is the consumption of water services above the threshold amount set by the Minister in accordance with the Water Services Act 2017. Water use above the annual household allowance (213,000 litres) is considered to be excess use and customers may be liable for charges on the amount above this level. The annual household allowance is set at 1.7 times the average annual household usage of 125,000 litres.

We intend to begin writing to customers, that appear to be using in excess, in early 2020 to inform them of their usage and how they can conserve water and address leaks. Following this initial communication we may send a formal Notice of excess usage, later in 2020, to those customers who are continuing to use in excess. The earliest date that a household’s usage can begin to be liable for the excess usage charge is in the second half of 2020 and no customer will receive a bill before 1 January 2022.

Charging for excess usage of domestic water is now Government policy and Irish Water will implement this policy as directed. Water is a precious natural resource and conserving water is necessary for a sustainable future for all of us.

Irish Water will communicate early with customers if they are using more than their annual allowance, allowing them time to repair leaks and/or reduce their water usage before liability for charges begins.

If your details are up to date, you do not need to contact Irish Water. If you are using in excess of your threshold Irish Water will be in touch.

If there are more than four people in the household you can apply for additional annual allowances of 25,000 litres per person. Customers with medical needs who require additional water can apply for an exemption from excess use charges. You must receive correspondence from Irish Water before making any application. 

Full details around medical exemptions will be provided by Government. We expect that any medical condition that requires additional water usage will be exempt from excess use charges.

The CRU has approved Irish Water’s proposal to apply a flat unit rate excess use charge of €1.85 per m³ (1,000 litres) and to set the combined cap on charges at €500 for water and wastewater services, i.e. €250 per service.

The occupier of the property is liable for excess use charges. Landlords must either register with Irish Water or provide Irish Water with tenants' details. We will use our existing customer data base for excess use notifications/billing. Please contact us now should you wish to update your details.

If you suspect there is a leak please check internal appliances and have them repaired. A list of common leaks can be found on our Check for and repair leaks. You may also qualify for the First Fix Free scheme. For more information, visit our First Fix Free section.

The CRU has opened published a decision following a public consultation on Irish Water's proposals on excess use. You can view the decision and see responses to the consultation by visiting the CRU website.

213,000 litres is 1.7 times the average household usage. A good comparison is that 213,000 litres would almost fill an Olympic sized swimming pool which has 250,000 litres when filled to capacity. 

We are continuously monitoring water usage to allow us identify leaks. Data is collected from metered households quarterly and district meters are used to identify excess usage in unmetered areas.

The Water Services Act 2017 provided that Irish Water's domestic customers should be granted an annual household water allowance and be charged for the volume of water used in excess of their allowance (considered excess or wasteful use). The threshold amount is set by the Minister and may be amended by the Minister which would require new legislation.

Yes, metered households can view their consumption by registering and logging into their Irish Water online account.

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