A new annual “Water Conservation Grant” was revealed as part of the revised Irish Water Charges that were announced on Nov 19th 2014. This grant application process seemed to end up a a bit of a fiasco.
Eligibility for the grant depended on Irish Water passing on customer details to the Dept of Social Protection – but it seems that many customers details werenot been passed over – or the name and address details can’t be matched up correctly with the Social Protection details.
The official closing date for applications for the 2015 Water Conservation Grant was originally 8th October – then it was extended to 22nd October.
Even though the latest deadline has passed – Irish Water have admitted that there are still cases where they have not passed over the details to the Dept of Social Protection. Irish Water say they will be sending the missing details in the “coming weeks” and that anyone who gets a letter from Social Protection after 22nd October can still apply for the grant. We have heard of people applying as late as Nov 16th and still getting the grant.
If everyone who is eligible claims this grant – it could result in a total payout of around €130 million a year. At the time of the last update to this article – only about 850,000 eligible people had applied – so there is still about €45 million unclaimed.
To be eligible for the water conservation grant, the rules say that you need to have completed a “valid ” response to the Irish Water registration campaign. by June 30th 2015. You do not need to be a customer of Irish Water – because the grant is also available to people with private wells and/or septic tanks etc. The “grant” will not be available for second homes.
The water conservation grant payment will be an annual flat rate of €100 a year and will be paid in a lump sum each year directly to bank accounts. It is planned to run to at least 2018 – then the whole charging structure is up for review.
Payments can be made by cheque to people who don’t have a bank account. The first grant payments went out in mid September 2015.
In April 2015 it was announced that people had to register with Irish Water by a deadline June 30th 2015 to get the grant. If you missed that deadline you will have to wait until 2016 to apply for the grant.
How to Apply for the Water Conservation Grant
All households that had registered their principal private residence with Irish Water by 30 June 2015 should have been sent a letter by the Dept of Social Protection. (It seems that there are many people who registered but never got one of these letters.) This letter informs people how to apply for the Water Conservation Grant. These letters were sent out between 19 August 2015 and 28th September 2015. The Dept of the Environment said that all the letters have been issued. (28th Sept) – but information we have seen from Irish Water states that as of 22nd October they were still sending outstanding data to the Dept of Social Protection!) (See above)
If you have recieved one of these letters you can apply online for the grant at www.watergrant.ie .
You can also apply by calling the Water Conservation Grant Support Team on 0761 087 890 or 1890 100 043. See below for another number. There is no postal application process.
Watch out for the call charges on those 1890 and 0761 numbers – read more here about 1890 call costs and 0761 call costs
Alternative Number : We contacted the Dept of the Environment and pointed out the potentially high call charges on these two numbers.
They told us, eventually, that people can also call 021-2065880 to contact the Water Conservation Grant support team . (Note – this was on voicemail in early 2016)
The closing date for applications for the 2015 Water Conservation Grant was extended to 22nd October (from 8 October) – but anyone getting a letter from Social Protection after that date could still apply (according to Irish Water).
Update May 2016 : If you have any queries in relation to your application or payment of the 2015 Water Conservation Grant you should email the Water Conservation Grant Team at email@example.com.
Or write to the Water Conservation Grant Team at the following address: Water Conservation Grant Section, Department of Social Protection, College Road, Sligo.
Requirements : There will be a number unique to your household called the Water Point Reference Number and a second registration number unique to the person registered with Irish Water. On the letter from Social Protection there will be another number you will require – the TIN or Transaction Identification Number. You will also be asked for your PPS number when claiming this water grant. You will need the BIC and IBAN for your bank account. You can check your IBAN here
The first batch of water grant payments started going out in mid-September. All the grant payments for 2015 were expected to be made by the end of October 2015 – but this date will probably change now that the deadline for applying has moved on. In 2016 is planned to pay the grant during the first quarter of the year and in each subsequent year of operation of the Grant.
It is likely that many thousands of better off households won’t bother making a claim for this water grant. They will probably see it as too much hassle for the sake of €100.
The Department of Social Protection re processing the applications and paying out the water conservation grant. But it is administering the grant on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. The money is coming from the DECL budget.
The government are promoting this grant as a payment that can be used towards repairing leaks or other methods of reducing water usage such as buying water saving products. It was only really introduced to try and make the water charges appear cheaper without actually lowering the charge. It was an attempt to keep government funding off the Irish Water books so that Irish Water would be treated as a non state company. That failed – the EU saw through it and said that Irish Water’s spending and debts had to be treated as government spending and debts.