Metered Water Charges : How Much Will They Be?

The exact pricing structure for the new Water Charges is not due to be published until August –  but using some of the figures released or “leaked”  by the government we can make a fairly good estimate of how much the  metered water bills might be.

Update:  Water Charges – Latest Figures Here August 2014

We have been told by Minister Hogan that the average charge per household will be €240 a year. We have also been told by Minister Hogan that a single person household on a metered charge using  78,000 litres of water a year  will be charged €138 a year.
(More about Unmetered Bills Here)

There are no accurate figures (yet) on actual water usage in Ireland  but we have done some research into water usage figures in the UK – and it is a fair assumption that water usage here in Ireland will be broadly similar to the UK. We have worked out the average figures from several large UK water companies.

The table below gives a summary of the average  water consumption  figures from our research for various sized UK households. We also show the estimated annual metered water charges that we can expect from Irish Water based on this usage.

The estimated water  charge figures shown are the total expected for a combined bill for water and wastewater. Wastewater will not be measured – it will be assumed to be the same volume as the water consumption.

In the first table below – the usage is litres per year and the charges are based on all occupants being over 18. (So just the  30000 l free household allowance is used in the calculation)

Number in Household
Low Usage
€ Estimated Water Charge
Medium Usage
€ Estimated Water Charge
High Usage
€ Estimated Water Charge

Free Allowance for Children ;
The government have said there will be a free allowance for children of “upto” 38000 litres a year.  They have said that the allowance will cover the “normal water consumption of a child“.

There are numerous adult-child combinations and calculations we could show – but in all of them (assuming a 38,000 allowance is given for each child ) – the estimated bill for a couple with any number of children would  be no higher than the bill for a couple without children.

Also  – our estimated metered bill for a 3 adult household with any number of children would be no higher than the bill for  a 3 adult household with no children etc etc. Even in a high usage household.

Of course – these figures are based on the assumption that water usage by the children does not exceed the free allowance.  But based on the average UK figures – children do not  (on average) exceed the 38000l annual usage.

From the figures we have seen in the UK – the estimated average water usage for the 3rd and subsequent occupant(s) is about 28000 l per year . – so a free allowance of 38000 should easily cover the water used by the majority of children in Ireland .  Giving a flat rate free allowance of 38000 for each child could actually result in some strange results . For example – a family on metered billing with 4 children using the medium usage volumes shown above would end up  paying less water charges than a couple with no children and maybe even less than a single person!

We expect the final amount of the free allowance for children to be lower than 38000 – but the government say the final figure will be based on results from a  survey of a sample of households with meters already installed.

In the table above we have shown figures for Low/Medium and High usage households – for your information these classifications are  ….

Low Usage Households :   would make occasional use of a washing machine,Take shower in preference to bath (but not power showers), Mostly absent from house during the week days)

Medium Usage Households: would use washing machine most days,Shower most days with occasional baths. Use dishwasher most days.

High Usage Households:  would make daily use of a washing machine, Daily baths or daily use of a power shower.Regular use of a hosepipe or sprinkler and frequent use of water throughout the day.

Why does the the usage per person decreases as the household size increases.?
A small household might put on the washing machine or dishwasher when it is not full – but with bigger households these machines will probably be used with full loads and therefore will use less water per person. As a household gets bigger – there will be less time for everyone to have a long daily shower or baths . As well as that – there might not be enough hot water  – so people will use them less often and/or for shorter periods.

 Unmetered Water Bills
When billing starts – the majority of homes will not have water meters. It will be 2016 before all the proposed meters are due to be installed and there will be about 300,000 homes where meters willl never be installed. These unmetered homes will have water bills based on an “assesed” charge which will basically be a flat rate annual charge probably determined by the size of the household and number of children.  Based on some figures leaked during April   we expect “assessed charges” will come in at around €170 for single people.  The  assesed charge could be in the region of  €335 a year for the bigger households.
More information on Unmetered  Bills Here

Note: All figures shown here  assume that a household gets a water supply from Irish Water and is also connected to a the mains sewage system .
Water Bills will be lower  if a  house has it’s own wastewater system or septic tank.
We estimate that a bill for just the water supply will be in the region of 45% of a  full bill covering supply and waste.

If a house has it’s own well and it’s own wastewater system – they will not be billed at all by Irish Water.

What we have been told  so far by government or Irish Water :
The national average Water Charge per household will be €240.
If the government weren’t funding Irish Water with €537 million of taxpayers money – the average charge would be €580 a year – as admitted by Enda Kenny.
Govt funding for Irish Water is fixed until 2016 – so all the charges could change again in 2016 if funding is reduced.
There will be no Standing Charge
There will be a Free annual Water Allowance of 30,000 litres to cover all adults in a household per year.
There will be a free allowance of “upto” 38,000 litres per child under 18.
The government figure for water usage by an average  single adult household  is  78,000 l  per year.
The government are also saying that an average two person household uses 115000 litres a year.

We have been told by Minister Hogan that a single person household on a metered charge using  the expected average of 78,000 litres  will be charged €138 a year. (as per Minister Hogan on RTE )
This would mean a charge rate  of €2.875 per 1000l (cubic metre) of water used over the free allowance.

A couple , with a meter ,using the expected average  of 116000 litres will be charged €248

Isn’t the average water usage per person 150l a day or 55000l a year?

Irish Water tell us that the average water usage per person is 55,000 litres a year . They are probably just basing that on UK figures – where the exact same figure it is also widely used.  Of course – that doesn’t mean everyone uses 55,000 litres each. Families doing cooking and washing  together will use less per person on average. A small child will use a lot less water than an adult – for example a baby bath will use a fraction of the water used for a full sized adult bath or power shower.  A lawn will need the same amount of water in a two person household as a four person household. As families get bigger there is just less time for everyone to have long daily showers (or the hot water just runs out!). So usage per person drops in larger households.
The average usage for a single person living alone  will typically be more than 55000 litres a year – as you will see from the UK  figures above it can range from 56000 to 89000 a year.

See some figures here on various activities and how much water they can