Water charges: affordability and distribution of cost


User based water charges went live on the 1st of October. Consumption charges are regressive, impact disproportionately on low income households and the introduction of user based water charges raises significant affordability issues. The current system of free allowances is expensive, poorly targeted (with subsidies for richer households) and economically inefficient. In the accompanying NERI inBrief I briefly describe two alternative models. These are a water credit model to prevent water poverty, and a zero free allowance model to generate a more progressive distribution of the cost of water service provision while maintaining the user pays principle.

In an NERI inBrief entitled 'Water Charges, Water Poverty and Water Credits' I discuss one aspect of the new regime: affordability and distribution of cost.

 The NERI Seminar on the 12th of November will assess the different funding models available and consider the implications of the chosen model. Details are here


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Dr Tom McDonnell

Tom McDonnell is co-director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute and is based in the Dublin office. In addition to managing staff in the Dublin office he has co-responsibility for the NERI's research programme and for its strategic direction.  

He is also responsible for, among other things, the NERI's analysis of the Republic of Ireland economy including risks, trends and forecasts. He specialises in economic growth, economics of innovation, Irish and European economies, and fiscal policy. 

He previously worked as an economist at TASC and before that was a lecturer in economics at NUI Galway and at DCU. He has also taught at Maynooth University (MU) and is currently an occasional staff member at MU. 

Tom obtained his PhD in economics from NUI Galway. He is a native of Limerick city and lives in Maynooth.

Contact: [email protected] or 00353 1 889 77 42.