Statement on publication of Survey of Irish Water Customers by Water Advisory Board

05 May 2022

Irish Water acknowledges the Water Advisory Board survey carried out from October to December 2021. While this is a small survey of customers in specific areas impacted by outages or water quality issues last year. Irish Water understands the impact these issues can have and is committed to working with our regulators and other stakeholders to continuously improve with the service we provide our customers.

Since this survey was carried out steps have been taken to enhance communications to residential and business customers, specifically those impacted by water services outages or water quality events. This is in line with the feedback we are getting from our customers who want more from Irish Water about planned and unplanned works.

Speaking about the survey, Head of Customer Service Yvonne Harris said: Irish Water acknowledges the survey and it confirms that our existing approach to further improving customer communications is the right one. A key part of improving the service customers receive is linked to our investment. Irish Water is spending five billion euro from 2020 to 2024 to improve Ireland’s public water infrastructure this includes repairing leaks, laying new pipes and building and upgrading new water and wastewater treatment plants. Customers may see some interruptions to their services in the short term as we address years of underinvestment, but we will always look to minimise any service interruptions to the public.

“Where Irish Water has planned works, we aim to ensure that customers get a minimum of 48 hours’ notice with leaflet drops, social media, website updates and media updates. For unplanned works or events, such as Boil Water Notices or burst pipes, where it is not possible to provide advance notification, we update all customers at the earliest opportunity via all the channels at our disposal.

We continue to work closely with our economic regulator, The Commission For Regulation of Utilities (CRU), to meet and exceed the standards set for customer service.  In the last year we have put a number of initiatives and plans in place to further improve our level of service.

  • Customers can now avail of quick access to relevant information on their water supply, based on where they live, thanks to the rollout of a newly designed Irish Water website. The changes will allow people in every village and town to immediately see what works and projects are ongoing in their locality by setting their location at water.ie.
  • Irish Water has implemented enhanced Customer Handbooks with new customer codes of practice to improve customer communications. These include enhanced complaint management and additional proactive customer communications during outages and water quality events
  • We have prioritised a project to further develop our proactive customer text message service. Irish Water currently keeps all registered vulnerable customers informed throughout a water service issue by text. This new project will allow residential and business customers to opt into text-based updates that will enable them to receive proactive timely updates from Irish Water.
  • Talks are ongoing for Irish Water to become a fully integrated, direct-labour, national utility in public ownership tasked with operating a world class public water system. This will allow Irish Water be solely responsible for all communications for public water services leading to greater clarity for customers.

As Irish Water continues to progress with our customer first programmes and work with our regulators on meeting our performance targets, we welcome the invitation to discuss the findings with the Water Advisory Board.