Water, water . . . where?

Sir, – To solve the capital’s water shortages, could the Government not come up with a Myles na gCopaleen’s de Selby type solution like dilute existing supplies? – Yours, etc,


Rue de Normandie,

Plaisance du Touch, France.


Sir, – Met Éireann tells us that about 1.2 metres of rainfall is average for a year across Ireland. Ireland’s area is a little over 84,000 square kilometres. If you do the arithmetic, this means that roughly 100 trillion (one followed by 14 zeros) litres of water lands each year. We use around 160 litres per day and there are around four million of us, so a total of around 0.23 trillion litres per year. In other words we use less than 0.25 pe r cent of the water that falls from the sky. And yet we have shortages.

We speak jokingly of people who couldn’t organise a drinks party in a brewery. Our wonderful politicians are so incompetent they can’t collect a quarter of a per cent of rain water. And they claim to spend €86 per head per year failing to do it. That’s over €3,000,000,000 in the past 10 years. In private industry that level of incompetence results in companies failing and jobs going. With politicians it results in higher taxes and bigger pensions. – Yours, etc,


Glounthaune ,

Co Cork.

Sir, – It is suggested that we drain water from the Shannon; while the Dublin rivers, the Swan River, and the Poddle, are culverted and flow via our drains straight into the sea, as does the Dodder, unculverted, when it doesn’t overflow its banks with its excess?

There must be a good reason, mustn’t there? – Yours, etc,


Milltown Road,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (November 1st) shares his experience of a high quality water supply in Bogotá, Colombia. He indicates that to suggest Ireland’s water supplies are “third world”, as many are doing, would in fact be an uneducated insult to so-called “third world” countries like Colombia, since he contends that Ireland’s water service “isn’t up to such a high standard”.

Information available on the World Bank’s Spanish website (www.bancomundial.org) states that in Latin America and the Caribbean 33 per cent of the rural population do not have access to basic sanitation services, including a safe water supply. I believe this to be more appropriate for loaded labels such as “third world”, and not a situation which will last “until at least Thursday” .

Ireland has faced, is facing, and will face many more, negative situations. But when we get ahead of ourselves and use highly sensationalised and inaccurate language for events which are not worthy, it only serves to cheapen the effect of the language needed for a situation when it is worthy, making its audience indifferent to a serious matter just when our attention is most needed. – Yours, etc,


Ulverton Close,


Co Dublin.