Owners are obliged to maintain internal water distribution systems at premises in good repair, free from risk to human health. Water services authorities (now Irish Water) may direct owners to carry out remedial works.
If they fail to do so, the authority (now Irish Water) may undertake the necessary works and recover the cost.This applies regardless of whether water is supplied by the water services authority (now Irish Water).They are required to be exercised where another water provider duly request.
Water services authorities (now Irish Water) may specify technical requirements. They may recover any cost incurred in investigation and enforcement.
Water services authorities (now Irish Water) may require that water pipes be opened for inspection prior to connection to the water supply. They may specify technical requirements in respect of connections.
It is prohibited to connect to a water supply without the agreement of the water services provider. Regulations may be made in respect of the matter.
A water services authority (now Irish Water) may provide facilities for vessels, temporary dwellings and caravans.
It is an offence to waste, connect to or use unauthorised, a water supply. Authorised person may direct the owner or occupier of premises to prevent water being wasted or consumed in excessive amount.
Directions may be issued to restrict normal water use, subject to conditions. A direction may be appealed to the District Court in most circumstances. However an emergency notice may not be appealed.
If a person fails to comply, an authorised officer has power to cut off or restrict supplies until compliance is affected. It is an offence to cause water supplies to become polluted.
Sampling and Pollution
A water services authority (now Irish Water) may take samples from any public or private water supply. If the water is unfit for human consumption, the water services authority (now Irish Water) must restrict or prohibit the supply. It must take whatever other action is necessary to protect human health and the environment.
The water service authority (now Irish Water) may require polluted water sources to be closed permanently or temporarily until specified works are completed to remediate the pollution.
A water services authority (now Irish Water) may declare a drain to be a sewer which is vested in and under the control of the authority (now Irish Water). Once this occurs, a licence is required to discharge effluent into it.
Water service providers are obliged to keep their sewers in good working order. There is no automatic right to connect to a sewer. It is an offence to connect without consent of the owner of the sewer.
Where the water services authority (now Irish Water) is the planning authority (now Irish Water), planning permission is deemed to include consent to connect to the sewer unless otherwise indicated.
A water services authority (now Irish Water) may require that communicating drains be opened for inspection prior to connection. The authority (now Irish Water) may specify technical requirements. It may recover connection and inspection costs.
A water service authority (now Irish Water) may inspect sewers or drains. It may direct necessary remedial work. It may carry them out itself and recover the cost if necessary. Where no remedial works are required, the water services authority (now Irish Water) is to carry out the relevant reinstatement at its own expense.
Where inspection indicates that the drainage is ineffective, the powers of the water services authority (now Irish Water) to require connection to water works may be employed.
Trade effluent discharges to sewers may not be made without licensing. This restates the obligation under water pollution legislation. The licensing system are set out in existing water pollution licensing legislation is re-enacted.
The Minister may by regulations exempt certain classes of discharges from the requirement for a licence. Regulations may make alternate requirements in respect of such discharges.
Review of water pollution licences are to take place every three years and sooner if necessary. There is provision for appeals to Bord Pleanala. Regulations may be made prescribing administrative and procedural aspects.
Owners and occupiers have a duty of care to ensure that the wastewater from their premises does not cause nuisance or risk to human health or the environment. It is prohibited to discharge anything into a sewer which would damage it, block it or adversely affect waste water treatment process. The discharge of polluting matter into a sewer which is provided solely for storm water is prohibited.
There is a direct means of redress to the District Court by anyone affected by a breach of the duty. This is without prejudice to the powers of the water services authority (now Irish Water) to prosecute in respect of any such breach of obligation.
The Minister may make regulations prohibiting or restricting the discharge of specified effluent to a sewer.
The 2007 Act introduced provisions for metering of water supplies and wastewater discharges. A water services provider subject to the direction of the Minister may provide services to the meter. It may provide for powers of access for maintenance and reading meters.
Consumers are obliged to keep meters in their possession in good order. When a meter is found to be faulty, the water services provider may estimate usage on the basis of historical data.
Ministers may make regulations in relation to technical specifications for meters and related administrative and procedural matters. The reading on a meter is presumptive evidence of water or wastewater usually discharged. There is a right of appeal to the District Court.
It is an offence to interfere with a meter. It is an offence to manufacture or be in possession to anything designed or adopted to make a meter under record. A water service provider may reinstate damage caused to the meter by such offences and recover the costs of a person who has tampered with the meter. Any fraudulently under recovered or unauthorised use may be recovered.
Rural Water Services
The 2007 Act provides for national and county committee structures in relation to , rural water services. The National Rural Water Services Committee was established in order to advise the Minister on rural water policy and related matters.
It may with the consent of Minister carry out relevant activities including research. The Minister has power to make regulations in relation to administrative matters.
The Minister may make regulations to establish rural or county water services committees in the areas of water services authorities (now Irish Water) for such functions as may be prescribed.
Water services authorities (now Irish Water) may and must, if directed by the Minister make a rural water services strategic plan for provision of water services in rural parts of its functional area. The plan is to be part of the overall water services strategic plan for the area. It is subject to the same procedures as the county plan when made or when reviewed.
Other Service Providers
Each water services authority is responsible for the supervision of water services within its area save those which are the responsibility of other water services authorities under a particular arrangement.
All water service providers other than the water services authority itself is required to be licensed. Regulations may provide for exceptions.
Water services authorities may determine both the activity that is licensable and the appropriate persons who must be licensed. This is subject to an appeal to the District Court. The Minister may make regulations in relation to the licensing process.
A water services authority may grant or refuse a licence or impose conditions. Before deciding on an application, it must carry out the requisite investigations. It must have regard to observations received, the relevant plan for the area, the applicant’s resources and the availability of other water services.
The water services authority in whose area the related water services are to be provided is the licensing authority . Where the licence application involves two or more areas, the authorities (now Irish Water) may agree arrangements amongst themselves or the Minister may direct which is to be the licensing authority (now Irish Water).
Water services authorities (now Irish Water) may attach conditions to licenses. They must be for the protection of human health and the environment, treatment standards, standards of service, sampling and monitoring, and supervision. A range of other conditions may be provided including those in relation to insurance, emergency planning, protection from contamination and the scale of permitted activities.
Review and Revocation
Licences are to be reviewed at least every five years. The water services authority (now Irish Water) may require it to be reviewed at shorter intervals at the request of the licensee or in other circumstances. This includes where there has been a change in the operating environment or when new performance standards apply.
A water services authority (now Irish Water) may revoke a license in specified circumstances including noncompliance with conditions, where the service is inadequate, or has been taken over by the authority (now Irish Water) itself.
An authority (now Irish Water) is to have regard to submissions made in making decisions in relation to the grant, transfer or revocation of licenses etc. It is to notify its decision to the applicant or license holder as well as persons who have made representations.
There is an appeal to the District Court in relation to a decision on a licence. The water services authority (now Irish Water) itself may apply to close a water service provider who is not duly licensed or who is acting in contravention of a license.
Assumption of Responsibility
A water service authority (now Irish Water) may take over waterworks or wastewater provider on a temporary basis where it is a risk to public health or the environment or where there has been a consistent breach of licenses. This may be done with or without consent. It may also take over the operation if it has experienced operational problems or where a licence is refused or revoked.
The water services authority (now Irish Water) is not responsible for the existing liabilities but may discharge them at its own discretion any license to the provider to discharge to a sewer lapse during the takeover.
A water services authority (now Irish Water) may require a water services provider to facilitate connection through its works by another person to the waterworks or waste works of the authority (now Irish Water). This power may not be exercised where it would unreasonably interfere with the capacity of the provider to serve existing customers. A water services authority (now Irish Water) or the person to whom a connection is facilitated are required to meet the costs. There is a right of appeal to the District Court.
Water services authorities (now Irish Water) have powers of compulsory acquisition for the purposes of their functions. They may acquire waterworks or waste water works by agreement if not fewer than two thirds of those entitled to sell (usually under a scheme give their consent). There is provision for compensation for compulsory acquisition of waterworks or waste works.
Bodies with statutory functions relating to waterways or harbours may divert or alter a sewer or other water services pipeline affecting them at their own cost. They must satisfy the requirements of the owner and the water services authority (now Irish Water) for the area. Disputes may be referred to arbitration.
The Minister may issue policy directions to water services authorities which are binding.