The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013, which came into effect on 1 January 2014, provides for the transfer of responsibility for the delivery of water services from the water services authorities to Irish Water. Section 12 of the Act provides that the Minister can transfer water services infrastructure from a water services authority to Irish Water by order. Irish Water is not responsible for infrastructure which has not been taken in charge. However, it does have the authority, under the powers and functions transferred to it from the water services authorities, to take actions to prevent the misuse of a water supply or to ensure the conservation of water. There is no question of homeowners in estates not taken in charge being liable for leakage outside of their property.
Section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 sets out the process by which a planning authority can take a development in charge and determine whether or not the development is in compliance with the conditions of the relevant planning permission. In advance of taking an estate in charge, it may be necessary for a planning authority to utilise its enforcement powers to require a developer to comply with planning conditions. When an estate has been taken in charge by the planning authority, the water services infrastructure will subsequently be transferred to Irish Water. In this regard, the planning authorities will consult with Irish Water on the takeover of water services infrastructure.