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NewsWhat is wrong with our water quality?
What is wrong with our water quality?

What is wrong with our water quality?

Last week the water quality of 180,000 householders in Dublin and Wexford was compromised when two water treatment plants failed. 52 people became ill and sought treatment. Over the last years we have seen regular ‘boil water notices’ in many parts of the country due to biological contaminants. In addition a number of beaches and swimming spots were closed over the summer as raw sewage is poured into the sea. The EPA has said that half of our rivers are polluted.
 
Our water infrastructure in Ireland is now so poor that the European Commission has issued repeated warnings to Ireland. Much of our water supply piping is still made from lead which was discovered to be poisonous by the ancient Romans.
 
What is the problem? Why is a country that presents itself internationally as a leader in technology unable to provide clean drinking water and universal sewage treatment to its householders? The answer of course is underinvestment in infrastructure. Our piping network is creaking, a lot of clean water is lost to leaks and a lot of sewage is discharged into our clean rivers.
 
Despite the fact that we have clean water pouring from the sky almost every day, southern EU states with much drier climates are managing to do a better job than we are.
 
But perhaps we only have ourselves to blame. Remember the water charges debate 7 years ago and how through public pressure we threw out any plans to charge us for water? Surrounded by water in Ireland we felt we were entitled to have it for free. Those conscientious citizens who paid their water charges when they were briefly introduced were ridiculed and their money returned.
 
However if we want our entitlement to clean water to mean anything we have to invest and the money has to come from somewhere. Water charges have been rejected, but should we bring them back? Or increase taxation? Or print more money and risk inflation?
 
What do you think? What would you do?

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Brendan
Brendan from WX commented:

For Irish Water or any business or social structure there is always a certain amount of to-ing and fro-ing. Sometime good happens, sometimes bad. For centuries, in the background there was always accountability keeping thing in equilibrium. We have chosen to end this useful feed-back-loop and now, instead, we give job security and pensions to managers regardless of performance. And management know this and idle themselves with half measure. Nothing surprising with the recent debacles in Irish Water quality of water. The mood of era is not conducive to business and the mood is being encouraged because too many are at it. Forgive, and you too will be forgive! Turn a blind eye to slackness and you too can slack! Ouroboros? 

Someone
Someone from D commented:

Water charges were rightly defeated. Just like bin collection, they were a trojan horse for privatisation. We already pay for water through general taxation. Water quality issues are down to the usual mismanagement of resources and deliberate running down of infrastructure to lay the basis for this flawed argument of "we need water charges". 

Someone
Someone from D commented:

Water charges are essential to fund water infrastructure. However, inefficiencies need to be addressed and essential works prioritised according to a risk assessment based on facts. Local knowledge is often overlooked by Irish Water. Additionally duplication between Irish Water and Local Authority resources when responding to drainage issues needs to be dealt with. 

Someone
Someone from C commented:

To many chiefs and not enough Workers @ irish water lack of investment over many years 

Thomas
Thomas from D commented:

100% bring back Water Charges but rephrase as "waste water treatment charges" ....as we all must Flush away our waste SAFELY 

Someone
Someone from LS commented:

There should be water charges as the state has to build treatment places and look after them. Private houses in the country who have to have a "Well" and pump have to service it having firstly purchased the pump and paid for sinking the Well. 

christopher
christopher from D commented:

Someone from KY below has it nailed .Irish Water was set up brought in their contractor buddys, jobs for the boys "show me the mugs money" . Millions spent on usless meters and fancy brochures and no attention paid to half the suplly flowing into the ground from the leaky pipes. Call Irish Water now with a problem and see who you get. The council staff still handle our water thats who you get whenever there is a problem. All of us are taxpayers one way or another and in 1996 after public back lash against water charges the govt of the day introduced extra taxation to sort it, and in 2013 we got Property Tax and USC in 2009. Check out Detroit in America and find out what you get when your water is privatised even when your paying for it. 

Someone
Someone from KY replied to christopher:

To give Irish water their due, they are brilliant at Hi Viz spotting. I doubt that they would understand why rivers didn't flow from the bottom to the top of hills, but they can spot someone on site not wearing a hi viz jacket at quite some distance. :-) 

christopher
christopher from D commented:

Spotted someone without a hi vis vest on my yearly visit to the treatment plant havent a clue how it works , but this will look good on my report. 

Someone
Someone from C commented:

The ability to pay water charges should be based on water usage, means tested but exemptions in some cases i.e. those who have medical conditions etc. But there needs to be some repercussions for those who refuse to pay any proposed water charges 

Someone
Someone from C commented:

Bring back water charges - health is more important and funding is needed 

Someone
Someone from KY commented:

Nothing to do with water charges. The waste is unbelievable, designs were good in Dublin as they are in the North, but in the rest of the South Irish Water do not seem to be overseeing things properly. My first introduction to a full clean water site in the Republic was a shocker, the design of the dosing system was fundamentally flawed, yet no one was the slightest bit interested. The system could not have been installed on any UK site I had ever worked on. The total apathy got to me, I just couldn't stay working yet not make a difference. 

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