| 15.3°C Dublin

Move for meters to control waste after supply crisis

Water meters should be fitted as standard in all new buildings, a report from Dublin City Council has recommended.

The document also states that the meters should be installed "on a phased basis over a period of years" in existing properties "in order to minimise capital outlay".

The report was prepared for discussion by the local authority's environment committee, which meets this week.

It states that only gauges with automatic meter reading (AMR) capability "compatible with the recently installed metering system on non-domestic user's supplies" should be fitted in households.

Urgency

The document adds: "Water meters should be fitted to existing households on an opportunistic basis as part of ongoing maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement of the water supply network or at the request of householders as is the practice elsewhere."

The reintroduction of domestic water charges is now seen as inevitable, with the recent supply crisis in the capital increasing calls for the measure. Environment Minister John Gormley backs meters.

Chambers Ireland said the crisis highlighted the need for water meters to be introduced as a matter of urgency.

"In one Dublin local authority, the water demands spiked at 82,733 metres cubed on Sunday compared to an average demand of 72,000 metres cubed," it said.

Chambers Ireland said the jump in demand came as a result of some burst water pipes but, more significantly, as a result of taps being left to run.

"This simply would not happen if people were paying for these scarce resources," it added.

comurphy@herald.ie