Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (60)

Mick Barry

Question:

60. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the way in which persons that are experiencing faults in the water system between their property and the mains supply are to meet the cost of repairs under Irish Water's policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9704/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has been responsible for delivering public water services, which includes responsibility for infrastructure such as water supply or drainage pipes extending from a waterworks or wastewater works to the curtilage of a private property.

Under sections 43 and 54 of the Water Services Act 2007, responsibility for maintenance and replacement of any pipes, connections or distribution systems that are located within the boundary of a private property rests with the owner. This was the position that pertained prior to the establishment of Irish Water, when individual local authorities held responsibility for public water services. 

In the interests of water conservation, Irish Water developed the First Fix Leak Repair scheme to assist customers by notifying them where suspected leakage is occurring outside their house but within the boundary of their property. This is done through metering data.  The relevant policy document, as approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities on 5 August 2015, is published on Irish Water’s website at the following weblink - 

https://www.water.ie/for-home/first-fix/first-fix-leak-repair-scheme.pdf.

I understand that to date the scheme has resulted in repairs capable of delivering savings equivalent to a combined total of 89 million litres of water a day.  

The Report of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services (April 2017) recommended that the First Fix scheme remain in place and that further options be explored to address the issue of leaks within the boundaries of a users' property.   In this regard, I understand that Irish Water will be engaging further with the CRU in 2018 to assess how the benefits of the First Fix scheme may be applied to leaks on the customer side of unmetered properties.

I understand that the position in relation to responsibility is less clear in respect of service connection pipes between the property boundary and the public water main.  I understand that in many cases, these were not historically taken in charge or taken into public ownership by the water service authorities, and so that legal responsibility for their upkeep did not pass to Irish Water.  I have been advised by Irish Water that as a matter of practice, Irish Water will take responsibility for water pipes that are in the public realm.