By now most people will have received their first bills from Irish Water.
While a new bill is never welcomed, the introduction of water charges will at least be softened somewhat by a €100 per annum Water Conservation Grant.
This is a subsidy available to all households who register with Irish Water by June 30th and will be paid out in September.
The Department of Social Protection will administer the payment on behalf of the Department of the Environment.
The payment is not means tested, and all householders will be able to apply for it on their primary residence – including those on group water schemes or with private supplies – as long as they register with Irish Water.
Householders will have to apply to the Department of Social Protection for the grant. The details of how to do so are expected to be released this summer with the payment made in September and each subsequent September up to and including 2018.
It is anticipated that those who have registered with Irish Water will be contacted during late August and September with details on how to apply for the grant. A website www.watergrant.ie will also be used to allow people to claim the grant.
You will need your WPRN (Water Point Reference Number) and Irish Water Account or Registration number to apply. A PPS number will also be required.
The fact payments won’t take place until September means that those who receive the water conservation grant will already have been liable for two quarterly payments to Irish Water, meaning most households will have been billed €130 while single-person households will have been billed €80 by the time they get it.
It is believed customers who do not have a bank account to receive the payment will be able to get it through the post office network, as is currently the case with other social welfare payments, although the details have yet to be clarified.
According to Irish Water: “The Grant is to enable households to adopt a sustainable approach to their use of water and wastewater services. Households are encouraged to spend the grant on making improvements or repairs to their home’s plumbing system or investing in water saving devices.
“This should complement other initiatives, whether by Irish Water or a group water scheme, to reduce leakage in the public water supply to your home
You can use the Grant towards purchasing water butts, installing dual flush toilets, aerators to reduce the water flow from taps, or rain water harvesting systems. The Grant could be used for de-sludging your septic tank or maintaining your well to ensure it operates efficiently.”
There will be no audit of how households use the grant so receipts will not be required to be submitted.