Housing Minister Simon Coveney has said that adults should be allowed to use 123 litres of water per day free of charge before excess costs apply under a new system, writes Juno McEnroe, Political Correspondent.
He said households who had still not paid old water bills should be pursued but allowed to pay outstanding debts over a long period.
A special commission last month recommended most homes get water for free. Mr Coveney said parties wanted to move on and agree a plan through a new Oireachtas committee on water charges.
But in an interview with the Irish Examiner he also admitted that he and the Government had not received word from Brussels as to whether the new water charges plan was acceptable.
He expected the free water allowance per adult — to be agreed by the Dáil — to be 123 litres per day.
“The average usage in Ireland is about 46,000 litres. To be exact it is about 123 litres per day for an average adult... We need to be at the national average and probably a little bit more than that so that people who are using water will have some flexibility around being a little bit above the average or below the average.”
Mr Coveney stressed that he did not want to interfere with the Oireachtas committee, which will begin its work next week. But he still believes households using excess amounts of water must pay more.
“If people are using more than that, why should their neighbours pay for it through general taxation?
“So if you have one house in the estate that is filling a swimming pool out the back, everybody else in the estate has to pay for it. That is just not fair.”
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