With the shock news that customers of Northern Ireland Water are actually already paying for their water [[Regardless of usage, or ability to pay… – Ed] RTE’s Mary Wilson spoke to Elizabeth Arnett (6 mins in) of Irish Water about its new First Fix scheme.
It’s an initiative which allows them to prioritise and fix the worst leaks even when it is on the customer’s property, for free, which gave Ms Arnett a perfect opportunity to make a positive argument in favour of metering:
Firstly it’s not good to have a significant volume of water discharging under the foundations of the property.
Secondly, the meters are being read and are showing us that around a third of homes or families are using less water than the cap, so if you have leak on the property you don’t have any opportunity to reduce the bill that you have. So repairing the leak that you have means that over time you have the opportunity of reducing your bill.
Thirdly, putting water back into the system is a very very good thing and it helps us divert capital investment in the general network and that means that the cost of providing water will come down.
But fourthly as of 2007 under water services legislation there has always been a responsibility of the homeowner to repair leaks on the property and actually half the leaks on the property would be associated with the cistern which are very straightforward to repair.