First water meters to be installed next month as part of national roll-out

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Ronan McGreevy, The Irish Times

Irish Water chief says levels of water investment are 'simply unacceptable'

The first domestic water meters will be installed next month with a national roll out beginning in September, the new chief executive of Irish Water John Tierney has said.

Speaking at the Engineers Ireland annual conference yesterday, Mr Tierney said the new semi-state hoped to have 100,000 water meters installed by the end of the year.

The ultimate goal will be to have 1,050,000 households in the State metered by the end of 2016. Householders can expect two weeks notice prior to meters being installed, they will then get a reminder a couple of days beforehand and finally a note in relation to the completion of the work. He estimated that the disruption to supply during installation will be two hours "at worst".

The cost of water will be set by a new water regulator. The initial pricing will stay in place for two years and will be reviewed every five years after that.

Mr Tierney anticipated metering will lead to a change of behaviour and less wastage among the public, pointing to the example of Denmark where water consumption dropped between 1996 and 2007 by 12.6 per cent after meters were installed.

International comparisons show water levels dropped by about 10 per cent after metering, he told delegates.

Mr Tierney also warned that current investment is water infrastructure is scarcely half of that needed to sustain a properly functioning system.

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