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Water meter installations in progress in Ennis.

Water leakages on an Olympic scale

Over 30,000 suspected leaks on customer properties have been identified during Irish Water’s first meter reading cycle.

These leaks are wasting an estimated 46 million litres of water every day – enough to fill 18 Olympic size swimming pools –according to Irish Water.

Following an early pilot phase, the utility has announced details of the interim First Fix Scheme, a programme designed to help customers to reduce the water wasted through leaks on their property.

The Commission for Energy Regulation approved an interim spend by Irish Water of €3.4m to progress the initial stages of the First Fix Scheme. Irish Water has submitted its long term First Fix Policy to the CER, and it will be published for public consultation shortly.

The national installation of water meters provides valuable information to identify where leaks are occurring. Following the completion of the first meter reading cycle, Irish Water identified over 30,000 suspected leaks on customer properties. Approximately 7% of all meters read to the end of 2014 indicated a leak on the customer side of the meter.

Almost 1,100 of these leaks are wasting in excess of 10,000 litres a day and combined, these leaks waste over 20 million litres of treated water a day. This is enough water to meet the daily water demand of 70,000 homes.

Irish Water is now in the process of writing to customers where the water meter installed at their home indicates a leak. The interim First Fix Scheme will offer a free leak investigation to these customers to assist in identifying potential leaks and will provide a free repair of leaks located on the customer’s external supply pipe, the pipe located between the meter box and the point of entry to the property.

Jerry Grant, head of asset management, Irish Water said,“Significant investment over several years is needed to address weaknesses in our water system and tackling the high level of water leakage on both the public and customer side of the network is critical.”

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