So it will be August at best before we find out how much the new water bills will be, believed to be in the order of € 350. Meanwhile, Kildare residents are still suffering from poor water quality, low pressure and leaks.
We are told the reason we will have to pay twice for our water is for conservation purposes. Surely if we are serious about conservation then the first thing we would do is upgrade our leaking system? However the introduction of water charges has nothing to do with conserving water. Irish Water have the possible option of increasing charges if demand is lower than expected, that means that if we conserve our water, we will end up paying more for it. It is increasingly obvious that this double-charging of people for their water supply has nothing to do with conservation, and everything to do with squeezing every last penny out of working people.
It is also interesting to note that while Irish Water are prepared to spend €50 million on consultants, they’ve only set aside €30 million to fix leaks. Our supply system leaks about 40% of the water it carries, €30 million to fix that is a proverbial ‘drop in the ocean’ (pardon the pun). Irish Water also says it is up to members of the public to find leaks in their pipes, and that if they don’t find them within the first year, then it will not be Irish Water’s responsibility to pay for repairs.
We don’t know exactly what Irish Water got for its €50 million as it is exempt from the Freedom of Information act. This means that no one really knows what is really happening behind the doors of Irish Water. €50 million is a lot of money, so what could it have been spent on?
Despite his grossly inflated salary of €200,000 per year, €50 million would have kept Irish Water Chief Executive John Tierney employed for 250 years.
€50 million is more than double what was cut in 2013 from the Respite Carers Grant (€23 million).
€50 million is enough to pay over 1800 workers on the median wage for a year.
With nearly 100,000 people on the housing waiting list nationwide, this money could have been used to provide homes to people who desperately need them. With the families of retired soldiers being forced from their homes in the Curragh camp, a small portion of this money could have been used to re-house all of them.