Farmers cannot expect any exemptions on the recently announced water rates according to the Department of the Environment.

Despite calls from the IFA for lower rates to apply to farmers, the Department has said that farmers will pay commercial rates for their commercial enterprises. IFA Environment & Rural Affairs Chairman Harold Kingston has called on the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to ensure that the expansion of the customer paying base, which is to include domestic customers, must lead to a reduction in water charges imposed on farm families, due to economies of scale.

“Farm families have paid for water for many years, whether enduring the cost of sinking wells and treating water themselves, providing water to local communities as part of group water schemes or receiving the water supply directly from local authorities. The cost imposed on farm families has been disproportionately high as funding for water infrastructure in Ireland has been completely inadequate over the years.

“The CER who is now in the process of finalising the water charging regime that will be imposed on households, must ensure that the cost of water to those who currently pay is reduced, due to the larger number of users that will now be paying for their water supply.”