The draft Memorandum of Understanding with IMF, ECB and CEC has that the government will study the transfer of the provision of water services from the county councils to a water utility, and will start charging for water no later than 2013. This is a year earlier than in the four year plan.
The Irish Times has some more detail. Besides the water utility, there would be a water regulator. That is silly. There is a regulator already: the EPA. It would be better to extend the mandate of the EPA to price regulation than to create a new body (plus CEO and fancy offices) and a turf war.
It would be better still to do away with the separate regulators for this and that and create a unified regulator. The Commission for Energy Regulation, for instance, reports to the Department of Energy, who write the regulations and own most of the regulated companies. It may be better to have the regulators report to Department of Finance or the Central Bank. A unified regulator would have economies of scale (regulation is regulation) and be less prone to regulatory capture.
The plan is still to have a central program to install water meters in every home in the country, and to have a free water allowance. Fortunately, the IMF will review the plans and chances are they will talk some sense into DEHLG under the new minister.