18 December, 2007 - Statement From Minister Hanafin Re Government Decision On Water Charges For Schools

The Minister for Education has confirmed that the Government at its meeting today recognised the difficulties being experienced by schools in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.

The issue of charging for water used by schools has arisen in the context of the introduction of water metering and full cost recovery based on actual usage.

Installation of metering in schools is not complete. Where it has been introduced, the bills which would be generated would in some cases represent a major increase over the flat rate bills previously received. This could reflect the presence of water leaks as well as overall levels of consumption.

The Government agreed that given the need to manage the transition to the new system appropriately, and to enable conservation measures to be implemented, it is considering the implementation of a transition period.
This would involve the payment by schools of flat rate charges proportionate to school size. During this period, schools would monitor water usage and institute necessary repairs and conservation measures.

The Government has also sought legal advice from the Attorney General's Office as to its long term options under the Framework Directive and in particular its entitlement to put in place a scheme which would apply to schools on an ongoing basis thereafter.