Since detecting over 30,000 suspected leaks on customer properties during its first meter reading cycle, Irish Water has so far contacted 2,500 customers offering them a free leak investigation under their Interim First Fix Scheme. The Commission for Energy Regulation has today begun public consultation on Irish Water’s continuing Draft First Fix Leak Repair Scheme. The Government has allocated a total of €51m to the end of 2016, to fund the implementation of the continuing First Fix Scheme.

Customer side leaks detected so far are wasting an estimated 46 million litres of water every day – enough to fill 18 Olympic size swimming pools, or the total daily supply for Limerick City – according to Irish Water, Ireland’s national water utility responsible for providing and developing water and waste water services throughout Ireland.

The national installation of water meters provides valuable information to identify where leaks are occurring. Meter readings have indicated that each of the 2,500 customers contacted so far under Irish Water’s Interim First Fix Scheme is losing in excess of 2,000 litres of water every day through leaks within their properties. Almost 1,100 of the worst customer side leaks in Irish homes are wasting in excess of 20 million litres of treated water a day. This is enough water to meet the daily water demand of 70,000 homes.

Commenting on the importance of metering in assisting customer side leak detection and repair Jerry Grant Head of Asset Management with Irish Water said “Our national metering programme is well ahead of schedule and is already of huge benefit in tackling leakage. With our first billing cycle underway, customers who have a meter can see their usage on the reverse side of the bill. We can clearly see that had the capped charge not been in place, 150 customers would have received a first quarter bill of in excess of €1,000 each, due to leaks within their property. In each case these customers constant flow alarm on their meter was activated and each of these customers can avail of a free leak investigation as part of our Interim First Fix Scheme.”

Irish Water’s Interim First Fix Scheme offers a free leak investigation to these customers to assist in identifying potential leaks and could 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 house. 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.

Significant investment is planned over several years to tackle the high level of water leakage on both the public and customer side of the network. Water meters provide vital information about water demand requirements and where water is being lost. The current situation where almost half the treated water is lost through leaks on the network and on customer properties is unsustainable. We look forward to receiving a decision from the Commission for Energy Regulation following the public consultation on our continuing draft First Fix Lead Repair Scheme so that we can invest the €51m allocated up to the end of 2016 to find and fix up to 25,000 customer side leaks.‘’ Jerry Grant added.

Any households who have not yet registered or confirmed their details with Irish Water can make contact on 1850 778 778 to ensure they receive the correct bill for their household and that they are eligible to apply for the Government’s €100 Water Conservation Grant. Households not on the public service network should also register to ensure they do not receive a bill and that they are eligible to qualify for the Government’s Water Conservation Grant.

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