Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
New AMA with a US police officer (he's back!). You can ask your questions here

The Federation of Group Water Schemes

  • 06-02-2011 6:33pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 19 ✭✭✭ Farrahy100


    When nobody is looking, bad things happen.

    We are members of a private group water scheme (PGWS) of some 100 or so homes and farms in rural Cork.

    The Federation of Group Water Schemes (FGWS) recently introduced changes to the rules of its members. These included a change in the number of people/members required to be present for a legal meeting of the scheme. This is a meeting where the decisions made, at that meeting, are legally binding on ALL the members. They changed the rule from the number required being a percentage of the total membership to just seven members.

    This was explained as “Resolving the problem of the larger schemes of not being able to get sufficient members to a meeting to form a legal quorum.” So, to be clear, seven people in a scheme of a thousand homes can decide to spend any amount on anything and all the members are legally bound to pay an equal share! Alternative methods of ensuring that the will of members was met were and have been ignored. No postal vote is allowed. No proxy voting is allowed. You have to be there on the night or you get no say. For many people with families this is just not possible. The FGWS has said it wants private GWS to merge and operate under “Professional management”.

    But this does not work unless you also change other rules and introduce new “Operational Regulations” and these include:

    Operating Regulations

    15. Any Member giving an unauthorised temporary or permanent supply to another party will be liable for a fine of €500 and the Board is entitled, in accordance with Operating Regulation 12, to disconnect that Member's property or premises until such fine is paid and the unauthorised connection is terminated or regularised. The Board may review the amount of this fine from time to time.

    16. A reconnection fee of €500 shall be charged in all cases. The Board may review this fee from time to time.

    19. The Society, its Board and members shall not be liable to any Member or Members for any failure to supply water or to procure the supply of water to a Member or any other party, nor shall the Society, its Board or its Members be responsible in respect of the loss of any other material or service intended to be supplied by virtue of an arrangement
    made with a Member or Members where the loss has resulted from an Act of God or other circumstances beyond the control of the Society, its Board or Members, and the Society, its Board and Members shall not be liable for any expenses or consequential losses whatsoever sustained by a Member or Members in those circumstances. This exclusion of liability shall apply in respect of any delay in arranging supply and in respect of termination of supply for whatever reason. Each member accepts, by virtue of such membership, the provisions of this clause.

    Please forgive this long entry.

    The rules are there to punish members who, in the view of a board given unlimited powers and legal immunity, transgress. €500 to turn a stopcock and reconnect a family who may have fallen behind with payments. That is punitive punishment.

    Another move, in the new rules, takes the principal of all members of a GWS being shareholders with rights including the right to vote at meetings. They introduce “Users”. These are households supplied with water by the GWS but they are not shareholders and they are not entitled to vote. A “users” rate of payment would be higher than a member.

    Under the old rules it was not possible for persons to gain legal control or ownership of a Community Group Water Scheme. Under the new rules they could.

    Water meters are coming and certain vested interests are moving to control supply and the industry.

    Also posted in the thread “The National Water Agency”


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,221 BrianD


    Are there recurrent problems of people not paying up?

    Provision of water should be a commercial service like anything else. Even if it is provided at cost as a community co-op then if one person doesn't pay the rest of the people have to subsidise it. Given that it can be easy enough to throw a hosepipe into a non-paying neighbour and give them a free supply, the fines seem a reasonable enough deterrent.

    Nothing seems unreasonable in the rules. A small board means that things can get done faster and proxy/postal voting only add to bueaucracy,


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,188 ✭✭✭ lucernarian


    Having a fixed number instead of merely a lower percentage of members required for quorum sounds dodgy to me. This, coupled with the changes in ownership rules and this idea of "users", previously alien to GWS as I knew them, stinks of cronyism.

    It looks like some people want to get a few easy jobs as part of a more "professional" group water scheme system. What regulations exist concerning the governance and funding of these schemes currently?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 19 ✭✭✭ Farrahy100


    Trust me this gets even better.

    In order for a member of a GWS to take up the option in the rules to seek arbitration, for a dispute with the board, to I.C.O.S. The rules state that they must do the following.

    1. Pay the I.C.O.S assessment of the total cost of the hearing in advance.

    2. Accept that I.C.O.S can appoint any arbitrator of their choice.

    3. Surrender ALL legal rights to take this matter any further in law.

    4. Abide by the arbitration with no right of appeal.

    The people who wrote this lot are not expecting a lot of complaints. They took realy good care of that.




  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭ Paddy McGinty


    I realise this thread is a fairly old one but still on same subject so thought I'd try it here...

    I'm an Irish citizen who's UK resident with a place back home in Mayo. NOT an old family place but something I bought way back in 1996.

    To cut a VERY long story short...

    1. The scheme organisers haven't acknowledged me in any way for several years (can't be anything I've said as I've never even spoke to them!). They upgraded system about 2-3 years back including water meters etc, I got NO letter either in UK or in Ireland, never had a bill for it, never had ANYTHING about what's happening, how much is due, when it's due by etc etc, absolutely NOTHING... then last time over (several months ago) I'm cut off.

    2. Got the NFGWS on it FOUR months back, "Local Development Officer" passed all my info on to scheme organiser and I was told they'll be contacting you soon etc etc. Constantly chasing them (NFGWS) via email (as can you believe I STILL have NO contact info to contact the organisers direct). 4 months and still nothing so I said I wanted it escalated and they put me onto the "Local Authority Liaison Officer"

    3. Now I'm being told (by LALO) that I really need to take it up with the same ignoramus that couldn't be ar$ed to contact me for the last 4 months nor the previous 2 years!!! WFT is going on?!!!

    WHO is 'policing' these scheme organisers if the NFGWS aren't? - it would seem nobody? Whatever has happened to "consumer protection" as all I can see is lots of people being paid good money to pass the buck.

    I'm wondering who to turn to next in terms of getting someone who can knock some heads together. Might the local SF councillor be interested given that I'm a non-resident?

    The only other thing I can think of is contacting newspapers in an attempt to shame someone into getting off their ar$e and making things happen. How about the EU?

    Really appreciate it if anyone can offer a bit of constructive advice!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2 P Wright


    BrianD wrote: »
    Are there recurrent problems of people not paying up?

    Provision of water should be a commercial service like anything else. Even if it is provided at cost as a community co-op then if one person doesn't pay the rest of the people have to subsidise it. Given that it can be easy enough to throw a hosepipe into a non-paying neighbour and give them a free supply, the fines seem a reasonable enough deterrent.

    Nothing seems unreasonable in the rules. A small board means that things can get done faster and proxy/postal voting only add to bueaucracy,

    I am a member of a private water scheme in mayo and have nothing but problems with them breaking the law. I have contacted the government and council as well as the news media but no one in Ireland is interested in JUSTICE or HUMANITY. I have even contacted the police to inform them what I would have to do to brings these criminals to court by breaking the law myself and even though they understand the problem they cant do anything till I break the law. This has been going on for years and they just ignore there own rules as well as government rules and European rules on running private water schemes. Any ideas when all avenues are blocked to JUSTICE.??? Peter.


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,150 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Mod: I do not think the infrastructure is the place to take up what is basically a consumer complaint.

    Thread closed.


This discussion has been closed.
Advertisement