Over 30,000 suspected leaks on customer properties have been identified during the first meter reading cycle.

These leaks are wasting an estimated 46 million litres of water every day – enough to fill 18 Olympic size swimming pools –according to Irish Water, Ireland’s national water utility responsible for providing and developing water and waste water services throughout Ireland.

Following an early pilot phase, the utility today announced details of the interim First Fix Scheme, a programme designed to help customers to reduce the water wasted through leaks on their property.

The Commission for Energy Regulation approved an interim spend by Irish Water of €3.4m to progress the initial stages of the First Fix Scheme. Irish Water has submitted its long term First Fix Policy to the CER, and it will be published for public consultation shortly.

The national installation of water meters provides valuable information to identify where leaks are occurring. Following the completion of the first meter reading cycle, Irish Water identified over 30,000 suspected leaks on customer properties. Approximately 7% of all meters read to the end of 2014 indicated a leak on the customer side of the meter.

Almost 1,100 of these leaks are wasting in excess of 10,000 litres a day and combined, these leaks waste over 20 million litres of treated water a day. This is enough water to meet the daily water demand of 70,000 homes.

Irish Water is now in the process of writing to customers where the water meter installed at their home indicates a leak. The interim First Fix Scheme will offer a free leak investigation to these customers to assist in identifying potential leaks and will provide a free repair of leaks located on the customer’s external supply pipe, the pipe located between the meter box and the point of entry to the property. As with all repair and maintenance issues in the home, if a leak is confirmed which is internal to the house, customers will be advised to arrange a repair.

Irish Water is prioritising leak investigations and repair works for those properties which show the largest leaks. Therefore, households with the largest leaks will be notified first. This will ensure that the greatest amount of water savings can be achieved.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Jerry Grant, Head of Asset Management, Irish Water said;

“Significant investment over several years is needed to address weaknesses in our water system and tackling the high level of water leakage on both the public and customer side of the network is critical.

The metering programme is essential in helping us to fully understand our water demand requirements and where water is being lost. Water is expensive to treat and the current situation where almost half the water treated is lost through leaks both on the network and customer properties is unsustainable. Our priority now is to support our customers in identifying potential leaks and ultimately reducing the amount of water lost. By tackling leakage we can achieve substantial savings and better invest in upgrading the infrastructure nationally, ‘’ Jerry Grant added.

The Government has allocated a total of €51m to the end of 2016, to fund the implementation of the First Fix scheme.

Irish Water is also today encouraging people who have not yet confirmed their details to do so at water.ie or 1850 278 278. By confirming details with Irish Water customers can ensure they receive the correct bill for their household and can avail of the Government’s €100 Water Conservation Grant. Households not on the public service network should also confirm their details with Irish Water to ensure they do not receive a bill and can also avail of the Government’s grant.

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