Irish Water has been given the go-ahead to charge households that use too much water.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has been considering proposals put forward by the utility aimed at conserving water.
80,000 households, currently use in excess of the annual allowance of 213,000 litres.
Many of these houses have leaks and actually account for almost 40% of all domestic water consumption in Ireland.
Now, the CRU has given Irish Water the green light to bill people if they're using too much water.
If a household is using more than they should be, they will get a warning letter before Christmas.
They will then have 12 months to address any possible leaks or reduce their usage before they are billed.
There'll be a €1.85 unit rate charge per 1,000 litres consumed over the annual allowance, with a total capped charge of €500 (covering both water and waste-water).
Laura Brien, CRU Director of Water and Compliance, explained: “Conservation must play a significant part in addressing future resilience of the water infrastructure in Ireland.
"This policy clearly sets out how customers must be treated by Irish Water, if excess use is identified, and how customers will be given the opportunity to address this in terms of either fixing leaks or adjusting their consumption levels before any charges may apply.”
There will be some exceptions to the new rules.
Anyone with a medical condition or who has a household with more than four children can apply for an exemption.
However, Irish Water has stressed there's no need to apply unless a household is contacted first to say there is too much water being used at the address.
A 'first fix free' scheme can also be availed of if a leak is found in a garden.
The utility says their goal is to conserve water and not bill anyone.