With effect from 1 January 2014, Irish Water is responsible for public water services. The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides that Irish Water can collect charges from its customers in receipt of water services. Irish Water will not collect charges from any households not connected to a public water supply, including private group water schemes.
My Department will remain responsible for the overall policy and funding of the non-public water sector, including the group water sector. Over the past decade, substantial improvements have been made in the group water sector, reflected in improved infrastructure and management and leading to greater compliance with drinking water standards. This has been accomplished through a partnership approach between my Department, the local authorities and the group water sector itself, with the important involvement of the National Federation of Group Water Schemes. This co-operative approach will be maintained as the reform of water services provision is progressed.
Group Water Schemes that are supplied by way of a connection to the public water supply network will now become customers of Irish Water, having previously been customers of the relevant local authority. Group Water Schemes that have their own water sources will not be customers of Irish Water and will continue to operate as before.