Evidence that water charges reduced Laois water use has emerged data from the first year of Irish Water billing.
Average water use in Laois fell by more than 10 per cent in the months after the State company began to bill households for water, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.
Irish Water began billing households in April 2015. Usage did not start to fall in Laois until after the bills began to be issued. In the three months before houses received their first bills usage rose but in no month after April did water use increase.
The downward trend continued for the rest of 2015 except for two summer months when the same average use figure was recorded.
The newly published figures from the Central Statistics Office show that that by the end 2015 average daily water use was 385 litres per day. This compared with 433 litres daily at the start of the year.
In March 2015 some 6.75 million litres of water were used by Laois households each day. By December this had dropped just below the 6 million litre mark.
The annual daily average use was 418 litres for the year. The total annual average household daily water usage in Laois was more than 6.5 million litres.
There were 15,730 meters installed at homes in Laois by the end of 2015 - this was up more than 1,000 on the start of the year.
In neighbouring Offaly, water usage increased despite billing while in Kilkenny usage fell by just 6%. Both of these counties also had a lower number of meters than Laois. Laois recorded one of the highest rates of conservation around the country water usage rose or stayed the same in several counties.
Nationally the average consumption per meter per day in 2015 varied from 274 litres to 383 litres depending on whether domestic water meters recording large consumption are included or excluded.
Charges were suspended last year to