As I’ve gone around my local area this week the main question on everyone’s lips is ‘when can we have clarity about domestic #watercharges?’. Like many issues, when there is a void of grounded factual information stories and speculations abound. This week’s media discussion on water charges have lacked clarity and real details and are causing distress, particularly to vulnerable people.
Clarity regarding charges
In my view, the key and most significant focus of the discussion on domestic #watercharges should be on ascertaining an appropriate individual water allowance. This water allowance should afford each individual free water to accommodate his/her daily needs:
- A daily wash/shower
- Toilet flushing
- Meal making
- Clothes washing
- Home cleaning/washing-up
I would suggest one ‘generous’ base individual allowance per home with a subsequent ‘average’ allowance for each individual living in the home after that. It does not stand to reason that allowances be based on the size of one’s home – people use water, not houses!
There is also a need to consider those who have particular medical conditions that require using additional water.
Once these details have been decided upon the discussion can focus on the charge per litre of water used in addition to one’s daily allowance.
Vision going forward
We need a publicly articulated and convincing vision from Irish Water. For example, we need timelines on the repair and upgrading of our water infrastructure; we need a programme of information and education on water conservation.
Is there the possibility into the future, when all the leaks have been fixed and we potentially have water surplus to need, that Irish Water becomes an exporter of what will be a very valuable resource? If we don’t think long term or plan then …..