Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of water meters that have been installed by local authorities, his Department, and Irish Water over the past two years; and the cost of the works involved.
REPLY (Sept 17, 2014)
Minister Alan Kelly:
The Water Services Act 2013 provided for the establishment of Irish Water as an independent subsidiary within the Bord Gáis Éireann Group and assigned the necessary powers to allow Irish Water to undertake the water metering programme.
The meter installation programme commenced in August 2013 and will be completed by mid-2016. There are now over 400,000 completed meter installations and Irish Water has confirmed that the cost for the supply and installation of meters is €539 million ex-VAT.
Four regional main contractors covering eight meter regions were appointed by Irish Water following a public tendering process in 2013. My Department does not have information to provide a breakdown of installations at county, constituency, district or parish level. However, a breakdown of the installations by region is set out in the table below.
In designing the technical specification for the metering programme, Irish Water has drawn both from international standards and from extensive local experience of the installation of both Grade B and Grade C meter box covers over the last 12 years. While it is a matter for Irish Water to comply with all national and European legislation in the discharge of its functions, the company has confirmed to my Department that it is satisfied that the selection and fitting of the boundary water meter boxes fully complies with international standards. Irish Water monitors the installations by its contractors and can require the installation of a Grade B meter box if it is deemed necessary, as has happened in the particular case highlighted. It is important to note that this was a matter agreed between Irish Water and the customer in question and there was no Court ruling on the matter.
Irish Water has informed my Department that it is carrying out a specific study in one DMA (District Metering Area) in Collinswood, Dublin 9 to assess the impact of the meter installation on flow and pressure. Meters used by Irish Water comply with the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) standard, OIML R49-1, which permits a pressure drop of 0.63 bars at the maximum flow rate of 2,500 litres per hour. This is considered to be higher than would ever be expected in a household supply. At most of the typical range of flows, 85% of which are up to 1,000 litres per hour to Irish homes, the drop in pressure across a water meter is less than 0.1 bar and is insignificant against a normal minimum target pressure of 1.5 bar. Therefore, the meters being used have been shown to result in a pressure drop which is not significant in terms of customer pressure at normal flows and well within the international standard for such meters.
Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives.