Do Water Meters Reduce Domestic Consumption?

This 2010 study written by Dr Chad Staddon, University of the West of England, Bristol, England,  asking whether water metering reduces domestic water consumption is a very apt topic in light of today's 10/10 split decision of the Oireachtas Select Committee on the Funding of Domestic Water Services. 

In what was a controversial and heated conclusion meeting,  the Oireachtas Committee failed to reach agreement.  On the one side those favouring charges for excessive use which by the way would necessitate metering,  were 6 Fine Gael members along with Noel Grealish, Ind, Jan O'Sullivan, Lab, Grace O'Sullivan, GP, and Chairman Pádraig O Céidigh.  On the other side voting to abolish water charges and metering were 5 Fianna Fáil, 2 Sinn Féin members along with Paul Murphy, AAA-PBP, Thomas Pringle, Ind,  and Seamus Healy, WUAG.

Earlier in the day, prior to what was supposed to be a final meeting of the Oireachtas Committee,   Simon Coveney, Housing Minister, made a statement saying that he would not introduce legislation to permanently end charges citing EU 'severe fines' and advice from the Attorney General.  The minister's statement angered opposition political parties opposed to water charges and metering.  Fianna Fáil claimed that Mr Coveney was breaking a'confidence and supply' arrangement which ensures the minority Government's survival.   According to RTE News both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are to table position papers by Friday and the Oireachtas Committee will meet again next Tuesday.


Do Water Meters Reduce Domestic Consumption?: a summary of available literature

Study's Abstract
"At the present time 30% of UK households nationwide are on water meters and household consumption stands at approximately 150 litres/person/day (lpd), slightly more than Western European averages, but significantly less than North American or even Australian levels.  Largely out of concern for the long-term effects of climate change on water supply, but also out of the notion that metering is “the fairest way to pay”, the UK government is currently trying to build a consensus around the idea of legislating compulsory metering for the nation’s 28 million households. However, there is much confusion as to the actual objectives to be served by such a policy, estimated to cost in excess of £3 billion. This paper presents the best available current research on water metering around the world, with a special emphasis on European, North American and Commonwealth comparator nations. In summary, the research suggests that there is little evidence that compulsory universal metering can achieve either the water conservation or social equity goals articulated by the government. The author concludes that policymakers need to think much more carefully about metering technologies and the purposes they are intended to serve."


Slovenia adds water to constitution as fundamental right for all

Parliament adopts amendment that declares country’s abundant clean supplies are ‘a public good managed by the state’ and ‘not a market commodity’

Slovenia’s water belongs to all its citizens, the country’s parliament has declared in a constitutional amendment. Photograph: Alamy

Slovenia’s water belongs to all its citizens, the country’s parliament has declared in a constitutional amendment. Photograph: Alamy


Slovania has amended its constitution to make access to drinkable water a fundamental right for all citizens and stop it being commercialised.

With 64 votes in favour and none against, the 90-seat parliament added an article to the EU country’s constitution saying “everyone has the right to drinkable water”.

The centre-right opposition Slovenian Democratic party (SDS) abstained from the vote saying the amendment was not necessary and only aimed at increasing public support.

Slovenia is a mountainous, water-rich country with more than half its territory covered by forest.

“Water resources represent a public good that is managed by the state. Water resources are primary and durably used to supply citizens with potable water and households with water and, in this sense, are not a market commodity,” the article reads.

The centre-left prime minister, Miro Cerar, had urged lawmakers to pass the bill saying the country of two million people should “protect water – the 21st century’s liquid gold – at the highest legal level”.

“Slovenian water has very good quality and, because of its value, in the future it will certainly be the target of foreign countries and international corporations’ appetites.

“As it will gradually become a more valuable commodity in the future, pressure over it will increase and we must not give in,” Cerar said.

Slovenia is the first European Union country to include the right to water in its constitution, although according to Rampedre (the online Permanent World Report on the Right to Water) 15 other countries across the world had already done so.

Earlier this year Slovenia also declared the world’s first green destination country by the Netherlands-based organisation Green Destinations, while its capital, Ljubljana, was made the 2016 European Green Capital.

 Amnesty International said Slovenia must ensure the new law would be also applied to the 10,000-12,000 Roma people living in the country.

“Many Roma are … denied even minimum levels of access to water and sanitation,” Amnesty said in a statement.

The European Union agreed in 2014 to exclude water supply and water resources management from the rules governing the European internal market, following the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative that managed to raise more than one million signatures.

Source: Guardian, Nov 18, 2016

Slovenia Parliament green lights inclusion of the right to water in constitution


In a huge victory for the Right2Water movement in Europe, the Slovenian National Assembly has voted to begin the process of amending the constitution to include the right to ‘safe drinking water.’ This follows 55,000 Slovenians, nearly 3% of the entire population, signing a petition in favour of including the right to water in the constitution.

The recommendations of a commission set up to draft the constitutional amendment were approved by 65 votes, with the remaining 25 members either abstaining or not being present. The proposal thus reached the two-thirds necessary to kick of the process of including the right to water in the Constitution.

The text proposed by the Commission, and approved on Tuesday 12 July, states that drinking water ‘should not be treated as a commodity’  and defines drinking water provision as a ‘non-profit public service’.

The wording should protect water services for citizens from any future liberalisation initiated by the European Commission. It marks a big success for the trade unions and NGOs which have campaigned, both in Slovenian and across Europe, for the recognition of water as a human right that must be protected from privatisation.

The Right2Water campaign, initiated by EPSU, became the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative in 2013 when it submitted 1.9 million signatures in favour of guaranteed water and sanitation across Europe and against the liberalisation of water services. Slovenian surpassed the national threshold for signatures several times over. This widespread support for the right to water in Slovenia has now borne fruit with water rights set to be enshrined in the national constitution.

For more information about the Right2Water European Citizens’ Initiative go to

For press coverage of the Slovenian Parliament’s decision see


Note: Right2Water Europe is a completely separate entity to Right2Water Ireland – Fliuch.

Original article:, July 19, 2016