Water meters and how to cut back on water use

17 Apr 2012

As the water meter debacle continues to dominate the news today, we take a look at how people can go about conserving water and reducing their water footprint. Also, it has just been announced that the new Irish Water company will be a subsidiary of Bord Gáis.

Reports have been circulating that the Irish Government is to introduce annual water meters charges of around €39 per year for 20 years for homeowners.

Earlier today Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that water meter charges still have to be decided upon. He made his comments as he entered a cabinet meeting at Government Buildings this morning. Topics up for discussion today include water charges and the setting up of the new State-led utility Irish Water. It has just been announced that Irish Water will be a subsidiary of Bord Gais.

Water tax – 2014

Here in Ireland, a new water tax is set to be come into force in 2014. The Government also announced its aim in January to install 90pc of houses with water meters by 2014.

It said that some of its proposed reforms also included water charges based on metered usage, with the metering programme on track to start in the latter part of 2012.

The Government said water meters would encourage water conservation.

Water butt kit

Water butt kit, which collects rainwater from the roof of a house

Water conservation

According to Colm Griffin from Purchase.ie, a new Irish site that deals in eco products, there are many ways that people can cut down on their water usage. He has shared a few tips with us.

  • Taps and showers

When you are waiting for the water to get to the right temperature, Griffin recommends that you put a container under the shower head and use that water for other purposes – ie for watering plants.

He says that an aerated shower head will also use half the water of a normal shower head. Apparently most shower heads use about 12 litres of water per minute.

The same aerated technology can also be applied to taps, says Griffin.

  • Water leaks

When the water charges come in, Griffin says that undetected water leaks could cost people a small fortune. He recommends installing a water leak alarm, which can be fitted to the water pipe. Such an alarm can apparently detect a leak of 40ml per minute.

  • Water and the garden

Over in the UK, hosepipe bans have been introduced by seven water companies since 5 April. The Environment Agency has said that more than half of England is now under drought conditions. For people who don’t comply they could face a stg£1,000 fine.

Here on Irish soil, Griffin recommends using a water butt kit. What is this, I hear you say? Well, apparently you install such a kit on the downpipes of your home, so that they can catch rainwater from your roof. Sounds like a good idea during Ireland’s generally rain-filled summers.

Finally, he says people could also consider installing a water saving nozzle on their garden hose.

And for the plants themselves, you can even plug in a type of moisture meter into the roots of your plant. The meter will let you know when the plant has had its fill of water.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic