Household Water Conservation Charge

Water is a precious natural resource and conserving water is necessary for a sustainable future.

Excess use

Excess use charges are intended to promote conservation and personal responsibility for water use and to help Ireland meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive.

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 used above the allowance is considered to be excessive and may be liable for charges.

Leaks in your home

Check for leaks

Leaks can be a reason that your water use is high. Checking for and repairing leaks around your home could prevent you from being charged for excess use.

Check for a leak

Free leak repairs

If you don’t find any leaks inside your home, we can do a free leak check of the water supply pipe outside your home. We’ll also repair it for free if we find one.

Apply for First Fix Free

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 section. 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.