The local authorities had power to charge for water.  The local authority charge for water may be waived partly or completely on grounds of hardship. Irish Water is now their successor.

An appeal may be made to the Minister where a person is aggrieved by the level of charge within 12 months of fixing the charge. A local authority may supply water by meter.

A charge for the supply of water for domestic purposes could be recovered from consumer.  The consumer was the occupier of the premises for which the supply is provided.  Where charges were payable, they were payable in half yearly instalments.  Where not paid, they are recoverable as a simple debt.

Service Charges

The Local Government (Financial Provisions) (No. 2) Act, 1983 empowered local authorities to impose service charges for water, sewage and refuse services.

The imposition of service charges was made a reserved function in 1985.  A number of cases challenged the imposition of specific service charges, in which it was held that the charges must be specifically related to particular services. In some cases, a charge is not permissible, unless  the service is actually provided to the individual concerned.

Other cases held that charges could not be imposed for general public rights, such as the right to connect drains into the sanitary authority’s sewers.  An attempt to collect refuse charges under the provisions which enable local authorities to make the requirements regarding the presentation of waste (requiring particulars showing payment) was held invalid, as it was  not intended to be a charging provision.  The charge was collectible but the authority could not refuse to collect the bin.

Local Authorities

A requirement for water charges derives from EU  legislation on the protection of natural resources.  Local authorities were required to install water meters in all commercial premises once the directive takes effect.  New premises must make provision for water meters under planning/building regulations requirement.

Local authority may levy commercial water charges.  Water charges are payable for water used by business, trade or manufacturers, supplier.  This includes hospitals, homes of persons of mental and physical disabilities, maternity homes, convalescent homes, laboratories, health centres, schools and clubs.


There is a flat rate and meter charge basis. A flat rate charge is payable to the local authority.  It estimates the water use and charges accordingly.  It is based on the type of business concerned.

With meter  charging,  the usage as shown by the meter determines the bills subject to a minimum charge per year together with rental for the meter itself. The charge is usually made quarterly. Meters are installed on large premises such as factories.  This are read by water meters quarterly.  EU Law will strictly require all commercial premises to have a water meter.

Where water is provided for domestic and commercial use, a domestic allowance is made.  The domestic allowance is set up 235 cubic meters per year by Department for Environment although local authorities may allow different allowances.


Local authorities had power to discontinue water where a charge remained unpaid for two months.  The cost of discontinuance and reconnection is recoverable.  Power to disconnect does not apply to domestic water supply.

Discontinuance may be allowed where there is failure to pay an instalment order after if the District Court so permit.  The court must be satisfied that he  procedure provided for has been followed and that the customer was not in default in  payment due to hardship

Irish Water


Local authorities may charge for waste collection services under the protection of the Environment Act, 2003.  The county manager is given power to determine the level or charges and job scheme for entitlement to waiver.

Under the waste management act, local authorities have a broad obligation to collect or arrange for the collection of domestic waste. Most households are obliged to pay for waste charges either to a private contractor or local authority.  It may be charged by way of a slot fee and/or being tokens of combination.

Local authorities provide reception centres for the collection of bulk waste.  They may undertake occasional collection.

Tax relief was formerly available for waste charges until 2012.


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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