28 April 2021
By Tom Collins
More Cork householders can now benefit from Irish Water’s free leak repair service following approval by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) to extend the scheme.
In approving Irish Water’s proposals, the CRU recognises the success of the scheme in reducing leakage and safeguarding water supplies.
The First Fix scheme is a key element of the national Leakage Reduction Programme, which is addressing the serious problem of leakage in Ireland’s water network. The scheme provides customers with support in identifying and fixing leaks. Irish Water offers a free leak investigation and, when a potential leak has been identified, a free repair to a leak detected on an external supply pipe on the customer’s property.
Since its introduction in 2015, the First Fix scheme has resulted in savings of 155 million litres of water every day, enough water to supply 450,000 homes a year. To date more than 87,000 investigations and 60,400 leak repairs have been completed. The changes approved by the CRU this week will open the scheme to customers who were not included in the original scope, including those without a water meter. As a result up to 600,000 more customers nationwide will now be able to benefit from the service.
Irish Water’s Customer Strategy and Capability Manager Geoffrey Bourke said, “Tackling Ireland’s high rate of leakage is a top priority for Irish Water. We are making steady progress by replacing old water mains, fixing leaks and upgrading our water network as part of the Leakage Reduction Programme.
“The First Fix scheme is an essential tool in tackling the problem of leakage on customers’ property. We welcome the decision to expand the eligibility criteria. Many more customers will now be able to have a leak fixed free of charge and help to conserve our precious water resources. This will benefit everyone by ensuring a more secure and reliable water supply for all. We look forward to working with our customers throughout Ireland as we continue to deliver this important programme.”
Following the completion of the CRU review of the First Fix Free scheme, Irish Water will work with the Regulator and our delivery partners to implement the recommended changes, including:
Unmetered domestic customers can now avail of the scheme;
Domestic customers with usage above 213,000 litres per annum will be prioritised for leak investigation under the First Fix Scheme;
An Internal Stop Valve is no longer needed for a customer to be eligible;
Some mixed-use customers will now be eligible;
Properties with a shared service connection will now be eligible; and
Customers no longer need to be registered with Irish Water to avail of the scheme.
Full details of the First Fix Free scheme can be found at www.water.ie. Our customer care helpline is open 24/7 on 1850 278 278 and customers can also contact us on Twitter @IWCare with any queries.
Irish Water is working at this time, with our Local Authority partners, contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of both staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services. Irish Water would like to remind people to follow the HSE COVID-19 advice and ensure frequent handwashing.
Editor’s Note: The total savings of 155 million litres per day attributes to the scheme consists of approximately 81 million litres per day saved from First Fix Scheme repairs carried out by Irish Water and a further 74 million litres per day saved from customer repairs on internal pipes following notification by Irish Water of a possible leak on the property. These customer repairs are also included as the customer is likely to have carried out the repair following contact from Irish Water.
For more information on Irish Water’s First Fix free scheme, please see https://www.water.ie/for-home/first-fix/