Water – a vital resource
Sir, – John FitzGerald (“Water supply problems are not of Irish Water’s making”, Business Opinion, July 10th) clearly identifies the “significant gap” in funding and also the simple but highly relevant fact that, as a society, we have demonstrated our unwillingness to pay at customer level for this vital national service, unlike almost every other country in the world.
Dr FitzGerald also compares the investment position of a utility (such as ESB or Gas Networks) that can charge users for their service with Irish Water that cannot do so, as a result of capitulation by successive governments to pressure groups.
I would like to pay tribute to my many former colleagues who have provided a “consistently high” level of compliance with water quality standards, not just since the advent of Irish Water in 2014, but for many decades before that, despite our collective lack of willingness to provide the level of funding required to provide the necessary level of resilience and public safety. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – You report that a fifth of the State’s drinking water is vulnerable to failure (“Fifth of drinking water supplies ‘vulnerable to failure’, says EPA”, News, July 7th).
In the run-up to the formation of our new Government, there were endless references to the need for action on health and housing, both of which are dependent on a reliable supply of potable water. It is quite obvious that Irish Water does not have the necessary funds to upgrade all its treatment plants, which realistically means the new Cabinet will have to prioritise the funding. However, the current demands of Covid-19 make this impossible. Given our politicians’ aversion to direct water charges, could the solution be the addition of a water charge to the local property tax, which has a record of a high collection rate? – Yours, etc,