Friday, July 13, 2012

Will water meter installers check properties for leaks? – Mythen


An Enniscorthy Councillor has asked that the government verify whether or not the installers of water meters will have a legal responsibility to check each property they meter for leaks and if so, will they repair those leaks before any charges are applied. Cllr Johnny Mythen, who has been one of the leading voices against water charges in the Enniscorthy district, said that the government’s plans for a water tax had more to do with privatisation than conservation.

“The government has let it be known that every home will have to pay €800 euro for the installation of their water meters, spread over a twenty year period as an attachment to regular water bills,” Cllr Mythen said. “Annual bills could be as high as €1000 per house. That is the undeniable reality we are facing if households are to be forced to cover the €1 billion government plan for providing metered water across the state.”

“Many people will ask what we are being charged for. Will Irish Water adequately check every property for leaks when they are installing water meters? Will they fix these leaks before any charge is placed on the property? If not, how can the government claim that this charge has anything to do with water conservation?”

“As usual in Ireland we put the cart before the horse. Minister Phil Hogan in his mad flush to install water meters has ignored the real problems. The antiquated Victorian pipe system has more leaks than the titanic. We are losing millions of gallons of water each year. Installing water meters will not fix this serious infrastructure mess. In fact it will mean not only the householder will be paying for the installation of his or her water metre but, also for the water wastage already leaking out through the system. Combined this with a direct charge per litre and the result will be a very large bill indeed.”

“According to the Irish Academy of Engineers the cost of meter installation will be at least €500 million. This €500 million could fund a proper water conservation strategy for six years. The government could take a truly progressive step by investing the €500 million in water conservation rather than meter installation.”

“This brings into question what are the real intentions of the Minister. Just another quick tax fix under the pretence of the conservation of water? Or are we going to seriously tackle this major flaw in the Ministers solution? It's simple; there’s a hole in the bucket dear Enda, dear Enda, well fix it dear Phil, dear Phil.”

“Sinn Féin is calling for the establishment of a National Water Sector Framework Team. This team would oversee governance of the water sector and capital investment for the sector. This allows for local authorities to monitor water usage and leakage at neighbourhood level. Instead of metering people’s homes, we could have district metering which is far more efficient and cost effective.”

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