Kildare Budget 2014 - Nothing watery about service changes

Kildare County Council will receive €24.6m from Irish Water in 2014 as it and other local authorities transfer assets to the new currently State-owned company.

But the money will mean a drop in its income from the Local Government Fund.

Established under the Water Services Act 2013, from 1 January, Irish Water will take over responsibility from the council for drinking water and the provision of public waste water services.

In his Budget report to members last week, County Manager Michael Malone also said the new company would have “strategic planning for the sector including water resource management”.

Significantly, he said, it would also “source private finance for investment in capital projects,” effectively a part privatisation of some of Irish Water. But the change over to Irish Water will be a “staged approach.”

The Council will continue to operate and maintain the public water supply systems and waster water treatment services on behalf of Irish Water under a “Service Level Agreement” (SLA).

Mr. Malone said it is “envisaged” this “will stay in place for twelve years with a review after two years.”

The Council will receive payments on a monthly basis on the basis of money spent on the services under the “Annual Service Plan” and SLA.

Domestic meter installation started, controversially, in the county last August and “it is expected that domestic water charges will commence in 2015.”

The Council will continue to bill for and collect non-domestic charges in 2014. It had 3,503 non domestic users in 2013.

Mr. Malone said that non-domestic charges and tariffs in place now will be rolled over for 2014, “pending the approval of new charges by the Commissioner for Energy Regulation.” The 2013 charge is €1.59 per cubic metre.

Mr. Malone said 80% of the county’s water comes in from outside the county but that its unaccounted for or lost water was 27% compared to the national average of 31%.

But he said new technology was allowing the Council’s Leakage Unit to pinpoint areas of water loss.




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