Irish Water: The Roles for the New Agency
In 2012 it was announced that responsibility for key water related projects, including the metering of domestic water supply, would fall under a new section of Bord Gais Eireann, Irish Water.
It is proposed that Irish Water will be statutorily responsible for both investing and operating water services infrastructure in its role as a provider of drinking water and waste water services to household, commercial and industrial customers in Ireland (not served by Group Water Schemes).
Irish Water will have responsibility for:
- The abstraction, treatment and distribution of drinking water;
- The collection and treatment of waste water and sludge disposal;
- Strategic planning for the sector including water resource management;
- Source private finance for investment in capital projects;
- The roll-out of the water metering programme;
- Customer billing and relationship management, including requests for new connections;
- Conservation of water supplies through maintaining and upgrading the infrastructure including investment on mains rehabilitation.
- Collection of water charges, both domestic and non-domestic.
The proposed public utility model represents a major change with significant implications for local government, the water industry in Ireland and its many stakeholders. The transition timescales promoted in 2012 would appear to not be on track:
- The appointment of an interim board and Project Management Structures in 2012 pending the establishment of Irish Water under its own statute by mid 2013;
- Irish Water acquiring statutory responsibility for water services in mid 2013 and Local authorities would be agents of Irish Water for a period with Irish Water taking over their operations on a phased basis from January 2015, ending in 2017 at the earliest.