Up to half of all Irish Water customers have failed to apply for the €100 water conservation grant.
The lower than expected number of applications means the cost of the scheme is likely to be around €88 million, compared to its initial budget of €130 million.
It is a sign that there is continued resistance to water charges, even though there was no requirement to provide proof of payment to claim the grant.
According to the latest fgiures from the Department of Social Protection, around 885,000 people have been paid the water conservation grant.
This accounts for 59 per cent of Irish Water’s 1.5 million customers. However, the percentage is likely to be far lower given the fact that the €100 grant could also be claimed by the 300,000 households on group water schemes who are not customers of Irish Water.
The Department said it did not have a breakdown of how many people getting the grant were customers of Irish Water or were in group water schemes.
The deadline for the grant was last October.
So far just 46 per cent of customers have paid their water bills, although Irish Water has said it expects this to rise to 54 per cent in the next billing update in the new year.