HOMEOWNERS face the controversial prospect of paying for their water based on the size of their home, rather than their estimated usage.
People with bigger houses face paying a higher temporary water charge than those with smaller homes from next year.
The Irish Independent has now learnt an “assessed charge” – which will have to be paid until water meters are installed – is likely to be based on the physical size of a home, rather than the number of people in it.
Sources involved in establishing the water tax say this is because it will be “impossible to police” the number of people living in a home, and it said “it is moving the way of property type”.
The charge could be as much as €400 a year, but “nobody will pay a flat rate”, one source said. Information on properties – and the initial tax to be paid – could be gleaned from databases that exist from the €100 household charge and the property tax, once it has been fully established from this summer.
Irish Water, the new body set up to collect the charges, will have access to records held by the Revenue Commissioners and the Local Government Management Agency.
However, the exact cost of the assessed charge and water metering will be decided independently by the Commission for Energy Regulation.
The bailout agreement with the troika compels the Government to bring in water charges next year. But the process of installing the meters only gets under way this summer, and will not be complete for three years.