Country Reports - Ireland

More than half of Irish households admit to wasting water

June 2022

Country Reports - Ireland

More than half of Irish households admit to wasting water

June 2022

Irish Water launches conservation calculator to help public reduce water wastage

More than half of Irish households admit to wasting water even though four out of five know it is important to take steps to conserve it, a new survey has found.

Irish Water has called on members of the public to be mindful of their water usage moving into the summer period.

According to research conducted by B&A polling company on behalf of the utility, some 53 per cent of Irish households admit to wasting water. This is despite 78 per cent of households knowing it is important to try to conserve the resource.

The figures are based on an online survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 people, conducted in the first quarter of 2022.

John O’Donoghue, Irish Water’s regional operations manager, said while individual action was necessary, he acknowledged leakage was also a “big issue”.

“In 2018 we had quite high leakage levels at 46 per cent. The 2021 figures are down to 38 per cent. We are working and putting a lot of financial resources and manpower into reducing leaks, proactively finding and fixing,” he said.

“By 2030 our plan is to get leakage down in the Dublin area to 20 per cent and nationally down to 25 per cent. That’s a huge challenge but we are making a lot of progress, and we are very much on target to achieve that. It’s not just households we’re appealing to, we have to do our bit as well.”

Some water supplies are already under pressure, he said, specifically in the south of the country.

“In Inisheer (Inis Oirr) we’re tankering at the moment there. Some of the holiday destinations are coming under pressure as well. We find at certain times of the year when people move out of the larger urbans it does put pressure on supplies.”


Mr O’Donoghue was speaking in advance of the launch of Irish Water’s online conservation calculator which will assist households across the country to assess their water-usage habits.

Some of the ways households can conserve water include reducing washes in a washing machine by just one cycle a week, which can save 13 liters of water, according to Irish Water.

Keeping a jug of water in the fridge rather than letting the tap run cold will save six liters a day and making sure the tap is off while brushing teeth can save up to 84 liters of water a week.

Speaking about ways in which members of the public can reduce water wastage, schoolboy Abdullah Bilal (11) said avoiding fast fashion is important.

“One pair of jeans takes 7,500 litres of water. Water is important to us because we need it to live, it’s the only way we can survive. It’s very important,” he said.

Eve McClean (11) takes water conservation very seriously and tries to educate her family on the matter.

“My sister, the showers she takes are so long, like 30 minutes. Yesterday she took a shower, and I gave out to her because she took so long. It’s not fair on other people in other countries who don’t have water.”