It has been confirmed  that owners of private domestic wells will not be subject to water charges when they come into effect.

The news is welcome, particularly to many rural persons who have made significant investment in the development and upkeep of their water supplies via wells. The issue arose following some confusion over implementation of EU directives and how they may apply to Ireland.

This is an area I know was of concern to many people in County Clare who depend on wells for their water supply. The EU Commission has clarified that domestic wells will not be affected by member states like Ireland having to recover the costs of ‘water services’.

As part of the EU/IMF agreement Ireland must impose water charges to help recover the cost of water services in Ireland. This is the case with many other EU states. The Commission has thankfully taken the view that private domestic wells pose no environmental impact and therefore there is no need to recover any environmental costs. I welcome this judgement.

It is estimated that somewhere in the region of 200,000 rural dwellers on a national basis are dependent on private wells as their main water supply, this news will comes as huge relief to them. Many people have been in touch with my office in recent weeks in relation to this issue and I wanted to give them this information as a means to reassure them that they will not be charged for their private water wells.