Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Water Supply Leakages
1708. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if a person in a house with an identified leak must have a water meter installed to avail of the first fix repair under the policy of Irish Water known as first fix; and if so, his views on whether this is a fair system for Irish Water customers. [54420/17]
With effect from 1 January 2014, Irish Water is responsible for delivering public water services. Irish Water is also responsible for water services infrastructure including water supply pipes 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 water or wastewater 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 and infrastructure.
In line with broader water conservation policy objectives, Irish Water developed proposals for a First Fix Leak Repair scheme and these proposals were approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities or CRU (formerly known as the Commission for Energy Regulation) on 5 August 2015. The relevant policy document, Irish Water First Fix Leak Repair Scheme for Domestic Water Customers, was subsequently published by Irish Water and is available at the following weblink - .
I understand that to date the First Fix scheme has resulted in repairs capable of delivering savings equivalent to a combined total of 86 million litres of water a day. Under the scheme, Irish Water is assisting customers by notifying them when suspected leakage is occurring within the boundary of their property. I understand that utilising meter read data to identify the most significant leaks has proven to be key to efficient operation of the scheme. The “continuous flow alarms” generated by the water meters are the trigger to identify and initiate the First Fix repair scheme process and this allows the more significant leaks to be prioritised.
Conservation of water supplies in general continues to be a policy priority. The Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services (April 2017) recommended that the First Fix scheme remain in place and that further options or schemes be explored in order to address the issue of leaks within the boundaries of the users' property. In this regard, I understand that Irish Water will be engaging with the CRU early in 2018 to assess how the benefits of the First Fix scheme may be applied to leaks on the customer side of unmetered properties.