COUNCIL workers are going to arrive outside the properties of almost 200,000 homeowners in the coming weeks as the water metering rollout begins.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan has got the go-ahead from Cabinet to proceed with the engineering survey before water charges kick in.
The water services staff will go to the boundary of the property to assess the possibility of installing a water meter there. They will not trespass on the private property of a homeowner or come up to front doors.
The first surveying visits will take place in Fingal, Wexford and Kerry, where there is a total of 198,000 householders. And they will be carried out around the rest of the country over the next six to eight months.
Householders will be alerted to the visits with local newspaper and radio advertisements. But they will not be sent letters by councils.
The key aim of the nationwide engineering survey is to find out the location of household stopcocks, which are the valves which control the flow of water piped into a house.
They are usually located underground, just outside the boundary of a house. Without this information, water meters cannot be installed outside the properties of homeowners.
A spokeswoman for Mr Hogan said water services staff would be taking photographs of where stopcocks were located.
“It will not impinge on the householders. At no point will local authority staff access the property,” she said.
Once all the stopcocks have been found, the next phase of the plan is to install boundary boxes in the ground beside them to hold the water meters. The final phase will be to install the water meters themselves.
It is going to take up to three years to fully install meters in the 1.05 million eligible homes. The survey will also allow council staff to identify up to 300,000 households who cannot be metered because they are living in apartments or share water connections with other houses.