Irish householders may have to start paying a flat rate water charge before 2013.
The government originally hoped to install water meters before bringing in a charge – but these will take too long to install in all houses in Ireland.
The water charges have to be in place before the end of 2013 to comply with the IMF bailout conditions. It would take at least four years to install meters, at a cost of around €500m.
Installation is expected to begin in 2012 – hopefully providing jobs for hundreds of people.
The flat-rate annual water tax is expected to be around €175 per house.
In the UK – water meters are optional. Everyone pays water rates – but the charges may be significantly lower with a meter if householders conserve water. Uptake of metering in the UK is fairly low. (Free installation).
UPDATE : Jan 2013 – see the latest information on Water Charges in Ireland