The Irish Water (meters) thread


All good points.
What I find intriguing though is that there’s still “bills” being processed on my water account - albeit with 0 value - but no meter readings are shown anymore.
Does anyone know if they have stopped reading the meters at all whilst the question of paying is being discussed?
I checked the water usage occasionally manually on the meter, but it is a bit of a pain to get to the reader hence would be nice if I could look at it online…


I suspect the reading contract is outsourced so I presumed it would continue. Who knows though. I don’t have a meter (entry point of the water main to my house is unknown) so I can’t check mine.

#1797 :nin


You do not need daily readings to figure out how to conserve water.

I am sure Ryanair could install a device on the back of every seat which gives the airspeed.
I am sure Irish Water could set up a system to allow users to read their own meters remotely.

Such systems would be hugely expensive. They would be for the amusement of a small number of hobbyists and would be ignored by nearly everyone else.



the hobbyists can always install a second all singing / dancing meter on their own side at their own expense. Though I thought the real tough guys went off grid - should be easy enough to sink a well for limitless flouride-free H2O, and the true eco-warrior can even power the well pump by PV Panels




If it was so easy why wasn’t it done in the years to 2014 when there were no water charges? Surely it would have been even more cost effective when domestic users were not billed for their wastage?

The answer has two parts:
-It actually isn’t that easy
-Before IW was set up water services were run by local authorities who had very little financial responsibility and no consolidated approach to asset management

Domestic metering will probably not survive, which is a pity. What will survive however is a regulated, national utility with a financially-driven approach to asset management. Water will not have to compete as much for funding with other services and investment decisions (such as the pipe from the Shannon to Dublin) will not be left in the hands of politicians to mess up.

Ireland was 50 years behind the rest of Europe on this and is finally up to speed. Over the long run you will see much lower levels of mains leakage than before.



It’s done continuously and has been since the first water mains were installed.

You’re not that clued in about this topic?


Don’t personalise posts - play the ball not the man

Domestic water meters are not network-attached and so do not provide real time water usage. They are read using radio communications.

Irish Water do not have an effective national telemetry system or a proper national telemetry system or strategy. So they have an extremely limited real-time data from the water network.

There is a limited telemetry system based in Dublin and covering Dublin and some surrounding local authorities called the DRTS (Dublin Regional Telemetry System) operated by the DRTO (Dublin Regional Telemetry Office) based on Dublin 8. It is based on 20-year old proprietary technology called Metasphere and is falling apart.

Because of the legacy structure, the only sources of real time data outside Dublin is a myriad of ancient and varied SCADA systems. There are 34 county-wide SCADA systems installed in 31 local authorities. There are also upwards of 1,000 site installed in water and waste water treatment plants (WTP/WWTP). These local SCADA systems are connected to a greater or lesser degree to the county systems.

Leakage Management Systems (LMS) generally manage leakage data collection at the DMA (District Meter Area) level. A DMA is a collection of premises.

DMAs have valves on the mains that deliver water into and out of them. There is a simple leakage reduction measure which involves installing a PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve). that reduces the water pressure at night. The PRVs are remotely controlled so water pressure can be increased when necessary such as as the request of the local fire brigade. It is a clumsy but cheap workaround to waste.

DMAs typically have RTU (Remote Telemetry Units) that exist in the field and collect flow, pressure, turbidity and other data from mains. These RTUs communicate with either the associated SCADA system or the DRTS via what is called a Data Concentrator using a variety of technologies: 3G, 4G, SMS, GPRS and radio. THe communication is not real time. The data is batched. The RTUs collect data continuously but supply data is a summarised interval format.

LMSs operate by collecting flow in and flow out data and match this with estimated usage data based on a profile of residential and commercial premises in the DMA. The difference estimates the leakage.

Irish Water use Maximo for asset management but do not collect asset usage data and match this with the asset view.

So, no real time data collection and no real time view.

49% of treated water does not get to consumers in Ireland. This is variously called UAW (Unaccounted-for Water) or NRW (Non Revenue Water). In the UK, this number is 19% which is about as low as it can get.

If you want to fix leaks, fix the big ones.

All the money spent on domestic water meters was and is a pointless waste.

Again - don’t personalise posts


Yes, we’ve already reached that conclusion a while back. Welcome to the debate.


Probably true on ‘was’, less so on ‘is’.

A small history lesson. There was never (ex ante) a need for domestic metering for existing houses. The cost-benefit analysis was not conclusive. Yes, you get reductions in consumption, but putting in a network of meters is expensive.

An explicitly political decision was taken to introduce meters with charging. The logic was that charging would be more palatable if consumers had the chance to reduce bills by reducing consumption. Whether this was a wise decision is somewhat moot.

But now, ex post, the metering and billing network is in place. It is a sunk cost which cannot be recouped. So the cost-benefit analysis looks quite different than it did before.

So, does it make sense to retain metering now that the system is in place? I have not seen the numbers but I suspect that it is.


Pedant note: “ex ante” means “before the event”, so that means when you’re building new houses. Or possibly you could stretch it to “before you install the meters”. But you can’t use it to mean after “the metering and billing network is in place” as you did there.

And actually installing meters ex ante (i.e. when you’re building out new network to new houses) probably does make sense since you already have a crew onsite.


So after 125 pages of shite we’ve reached the conclusion that water metering was a stupid idea. It seems that people were too blinded by the dream of relieving the crippling burden of taxation off the wealthy than to actually analyse the claims and figures in the first place. :slight_smile:


Yes, well the only leaks those people are interested are those that syphon from the revenue stream that flows to the top! :smiling_imp:
A bit like “free trade” in fact.


Pretending this is about cost-effectiveness is pure boloxology. If the water meters were free the “hard left” would still object to them. It’s become a touchstone issue for no particularly good ideological reason.


You are of course right.
Only the superior Irish have figured out that water metering and charging for use is a stupid idea: Because of course its only purpose is of course to distribute wealth from the oppressed poor working class (or actually often non-working class) to the rich, so you make them richer.

I can hardly believe that anyone would come up with such a stupid statement. It is no wonder this country is fucked; the last real communist country in Europe, indeed.


How do the costs of supplying water vary with usage per household?


Paying for essential public services from general taxation is not communism. It’s amazing that someone would think it is, but there you go.

And yes, the government have admitted that Irish Water is exclusively about transferring the taxation burden away from wealthy and on to those who don’t have the same means. They call it “making work pay”, but really it means that a working family on a modest wage will pay vastly larger portion of their income on water than a wealthy family.

You may not be aware of it, but we value our progressive taxation system in Ireland.


I’m not sure you would say that when it’s obviously not true. Irish Water was about transferring the debt off the central and local authority balance sheets into a “commercial” semistate so that it wouldn’t count as government debt. Probably a silly idea but that was its purpose. Same has been done with countless other capital-heavy semi states like DAA. None of them end up operating for the benefit of the taxpayer really but it’s a was for the government to raise capital while pretending they’re not.


I made the point several years ago: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=46833&p=796996&hilit=cfit#p796996.