A draft report by the expert commission looking at the future funding of water is understood to recommend that the vast majority of people will not pay for water.

The report is understood to recommend that normal household usage should be paid for by the State in the form of general taxation.

Any use in excess of this would be paid by for by the householder.

In terms of what qualifies as normal usage for households, the commission reportedly recommends that the Energy Regulator and a public water forum should be part of a transparent process to assess this.

This is not described as a free allowance as it would be paid for by the State.

The report is believed to also propose that the regulator should determine the charge for those who use more than the normal requirement.

It is believed it also proposes that special provision be given to those with medical or other exceptional needs.

In exceptional circumstances, it states that people should be able to apply for a waiver regarding excessive usage.

The draft report also says that those who have paid their bill to date should be treated no less favourably than those who have not.

It also recommends that a referendum on public ownership of water should be considered.

It is also believed that it states that its recommendations, if implemented, would comply with the EU directive on water.

It is also understood the draft report recommends that equity be maintained for those on group schemes and private wells through additional subsidy or other means.

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