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Irish Water

  • 17-01-2012 11:32pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,271 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    Most posters here seem to only be interested in roads and rail but there is more to infrastructure than that, but wont be much of that over the short to medium term so we will have to make do to keep this forum ticking over - beggers cant be choosers and all that!

    Good to see some movement on Irish Water. It is badly needed;

    Consultation on the Establishment of a Public Water Utility and the future funding of water services

    Hogan and O’Dowd Announce Public Consultation on the Reform of the Water Sector

    I havent had time to have a full read through the documents but from what I have seen and bits picked up here and there but it seems that Irish Water will also be responsible for waste water and waste water treatment and Council staff will be transferred to staff it. The Commission of Energy Regulation will regulate Irish Water. As Irish Water is not up and running yet, the Department of the Environment will start the metering process. I suppose they need to get the ball rolling asap but I dont see the need for the Department to be involved in the transition, they will untangle the mess of the 34 local authorities and create their own mess for Irish Water to untangle before they can start any real work.

    Up to 90% of households will be metered by the end of 2014 at a cost of €500. About 300,000 households will be slapped with a fixed-rate water charge;
    The PwC report says: "The remaining households on public supplies, which would be either too expensive or technically difficult to meter individually initially (eg houses with shared service connections and houses in multi-occupancy premises such as apartment or flat complexes and gated communities) will have charges levied on a fixed basis."
    This is very self-defeating. I dont see why they cant just pass the cost of providing individual meters to units in apartment blocks or gated communities by metering the supply into the block/estate and charging the management company who then spread the cost across all residents. Everyone will claim "I dont use as much water as your wan down the hall so why should I pay the same?" Their options are either do nothing and all pay the same or pay to have individual meters installed and pay less for using less water. And before anyone says why should apartment dwellers have to pay for their own meter, the state would be providing the same service to them as to everywhere else they meter - ie. they install a meter where the water leaves public infrastructure and enters private distribution pipes.

    And I dont like the name Irish Water, Uisce is a better name imo.


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Comments

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    I strongly disagree with your point on apartments.

    Apartment dwellers typically live in the highest density and most environmentally friendly fashion in Ireland.

    Such people should be awarded for taking this choice, not punished.

    As it is apartment dwellers already pay ridiculously high maintenance fees, while typically using much less public resources then standalone houses, this should be taken into account.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    bk wrote: »
    I strongly disagree with your point on apartments.

    Apartment dwellers typically live in the highest density and most environmentally friendly fashion in Ireland.

    Such people should be awarded for taking this choice, not punished.

    As it is apartment dwellers already pay ridiculously high maintenance fees, while typically using much less public resources then standalone houses, this should be taken into account.

    As this is only to do with fresh water provided and sewage collected, unless you've some evidence Apt dwellers use less or provide less, then they should pay the same

    If apartment dwelling was more sustainable etc, then the management fee would be less than the equivalent in a house dweller, as they wouldn't have to pay individual insurance, grass cutters/gardening due to the economies of scale.

    As I see it, the fact civil service staff will start to do the work on IW will be the death knell of any performance improvements or pay reforms; sher thats the way it always was will rule.
    There should be no defined benefit pension plans, and no continuity of service for people joining the new company.

    I also noticed the line about IW being a public utility, rather than a semi state, not the best.

    One thing that seemed to be hammered home was the cost of providing the service was totalled with the capital and operating costs combined and then the operating cost of all water provision mentioned, but not of domestic supply. Surely the commercial/non-domestic supply is known and charged for maybe unser uber menschen/ frauen don't want us to know the actual cost of domestic supply so we can't compare easily.

    If they are going to meter sewage then I can foresee the increase of a mcSh1t


  • Registered Users Posts: 635 ✭✭✭ Jayuu


    So I, a single person living alone in my apartment should pay the same as a family of four or five living in a similar apartment? What nonsense. Payment should on a usage basis for everybody.
    Why should it be so difficult to meter apartments? We can do it for electricity supplies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 542 ✭✭✭ unit 1


    A point that occured to me is who is going to pay for future investment. Surely the cc's have already collected levies during the building boom to provide adequate services, so if they are not there will the consumer have to pay for them again,


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 13,991 Mod ✭✭✭✭ monument


    As this is only to do with fresh water provided and sewage collected, unless you've some evidence Apt dwellers use less or provide less, then they should pay the same

    Apartments owners / renters are hugely less likely to:
    • Have any kind of leaky outdoor tap or pipes
    • Be using a hose to water a garden
    • Be using a hose to wash a car
    • Be using a hose to wash a dog
    • Leave a hose or outdoor tap running

    Many apartments also don't even have a bath, while the vast majority of houses do.

    If apartment dwelling was more sustainable etc, then the management fee would be less than the equivalent in a house dweller, as they wouldn't have to pay individual insurance, grass cutters/gardening due to the economies of scale.

    Is this in reply to anything bk said?

    Because management fees (apartments and in gated houses) have very little to do with how environmentally sustainable apartments are.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,830 ✭✭✭ markpb


    Jayuu wrote: »
    So I, a single person living alone in my apartment should pay the same as a family of four or five living in a similar apartment? What nonsense. Payment should on a usage basis for everybody.
    Why should it be so difficult to meter apartments? We can do it for electricity supplies.

    I presume its because apartments were built with electricity meters in mind but not with water meters. You could probably put meters in each apartment easily enough but not in a location accessible to someone who wanted to read it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ tharlear


    Don't understand what all the fuss is about.

    As I do not live in Ireland my house has a water meter. It's about 100x100x150mm, has an aerial (similar to an FM radio attenna) sticking out of it. 4 time a year the water utility "drive by" and "read" the meter.
    Before they installed the present meter that there was a wire going out to dial on the exterior of the house which was read by a person. Took them all on 20 minutes to change out the meter.
    As the connection on the new meter were not the same as on the old the had to cut the pipe and solder in new connections. this would be similar to cutting a pipe to install a meter where there was none. As I said don't undersatnd what al the fuss is about.

    No entering the building unless there is a fault. I get billed each quarter. If I didn't pay 2 quarter in a row then my water would be shut off. To get reconnect I would have to pay the full bill plus a reconnection fee.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 13,991 Mod ✭✭✭✭ monument


    For reference, where do you live?


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ tharlear


    In one of the countries of the world that uses water meters.

    US

    By the way I am not commenting as to weather or not water meter should be installed in ireland. Just saying that in my experience its not a big deal to have one installed


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,278 ✭✭✭ dowlingm


    tharlear's setup sounds very like what we have in Toronto.

    Water rates here are 1.90 Euro per cubic metre at current exchange rates if paid by the due date. That works out to about 8.62 Euro for 1,000 gallons assuming I have my sums right (C$[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]0.01131836/gallon)[/FONT].


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  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ tharlear


    Service charges quarterly (for being connected to the system)
    meter size based on pipe size
    inch__________________mm
    3/4 inch meter_$19.20__19.05mm E14.76
    1 inch meter___$30.30__25.4mm E23.31
    1-1/4_________$40.80__30.8mm E31.38
    1-1/2_________$50.40__38.1mm E38.77
    2____________ $76.20__50.8mm E58.62
    3_____________$123___ 76.2mm E94.62
    etc
    12___________$927____305mm E713.1

    Volume charges are
    first 15000 cubic feet $2.12per 100cubic feet (first 425cubic m 0.58 per Cubic m)
    next 185000cF $1.80 per 100cf (next 5239cubic m 0.49 per Cubic m)
    over 200000cf $$1.50 per 100 cf (over 5663cubic m 0.41 per Cubic m)

    So single family home(new construction is normally 1"inch)using 424 cubic m per quater (or 142 per month) pays about E270.00 per quarter

    I normally pay about $140 to $180 (in summer) per quarter.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,271 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    bk wrote: »
    I strongly disagree with your point on apartments.

    Apartment dwellers typically live in the highest density and most environmentally friendly fashion in Ireland.
    Its not environmentally friendly if they are wasting lots of water.
    Jayuu wrote: »
    So I, a single person living alone in my apartment should pay the same as a family of four or five living in a similar apartment? What nonsense. Payment should on a usage basis for everybody.
    Why should it be so difficult to meter apartments? We can do it for electricity supplies.
    Apt blocks are wired so that the amount of energy consumed by each unit can be measured. I guess if/how water meters work will depend on how they are plumbed; if the water for each unit comes of the general building pipework at one point and is distributed to all taps/showers/washing machine in the unit from there it is easy, if each taps/showers/washing machine in the building comes off different points along the general building distribution pipework individual metering would be too difficult. But like I said, if the entire building is metered, and each resident is charged for the water the entire building uses, there is an incentive for them to reduce waste.
    tharlear wrote: »
    As I do not live in Ireland my house has a water meter. It's about 100x100x150mm, has an aerial (similar to an FM radio attenna) sticking out of it. 4 time a year the water utility "drive by" and "read" the meter.
    Before they installed the present meter that there was a wire going out to dial on the exterior of the house which was read by a person. Took them all on 20 minutes to change out the meter.
    As the connection on the new meter were not the same as on the old the had to cut the pipe and solder in new connections. this would be similar to cutting a pipe to install a meter where there was none. As I said don't undersatnd what al the fuss is about.
    Drive by meter reading is standard, even here in Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ tharlear


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jayuu
    So I, a single person living alone in my apartment should pay the same as a family of four or five living in a similar apartment? What nonsense. Payment should on a usage basis for everybody.
    Why should it be so difficult to meter apartments? We can do it for electricity supplies.

    I presume its because apartments were built with electricity meters in mind but not with water meters. You could probably put meters in each apartment easily enough but not in a location accessible to someone who wanted to read it.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tharlear
    As I do not live in Ireland my house has a water meter. It's about 100x100x150mm, has an aerial (similar to an FM radio attenna) sticking out of it. 4 time a year the water utility "drive by" and "read" the meter.
    Before they installed the present meter that there was a wire going out to dial on the exterior of the house which was read by a person. Took them all on 20 minutes to change out the meter.
    As the connection on the new meter were not the same as on the old the had to cut the pipe and solder in new connections. this would be similar to cutting a pipe to install a meter where there was none. As I said don't undersatnd what al the fuss is about.

    Pete Cavan
    Drive by meter reading is standard, even here in Ireland.

    Only addded that info to highlight that access to each apartment would not be required


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    Its not environmentally friendly if they are wasting lots of water.

    But how would they?

    They typically don't have gardens to water, can't wash a car (if they even own one), water features in a garden to run, etc.

    I'm pretty certain that apartment dwellers are probably some of the lowest water users in the vast majority of cases.


  • Registered Users Posts: 635 ✭✭✭ Jayuu


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    But like I said, if the entire building is metered, and each resident is charged for the water the entire building uses, there is an incentive for them to reduce waste.

    I don't see how this follows. In fact its the very opposite because if you already use a large amount of water (because your a family of four or five compared to a single person) then your usage is being subsidised by the other people in the block.

    Also since there's no way of knowing if everybody is trying to be responsible then you'll always get people who won't care and won't reduce their water usage. To be honest, if I know that I'm going to have to pay more than I should based on my actual usage then I'll probably increase my water usage to get a fairer amount for what I'm being charged.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,304 ✭✭✭ serfboard


    Lest we forget, here are some reasons why we badly need Irish Water.
    One city household would face a bill of almost €47,000 for the year when domestic water charges are introduced, an extensive leak detection survey by Galway City Council has revealed.

    [...]

    A property at St Claire’s on Taylor’s Hill is currently consuming a staggering 13,473 gallons of water per day – more than 120 times the average – the Leak Detection Unit found. That would equate to a water charges bill of €46,941.

    The survey identified more than 100 ‘Private Side Leakages’ (on private property), and after being contacted, around half of these were repaired by the owners.

    The Council then fitted meters at the boundaries of 18 properties, and found they would clock up water usage of more than €260,000 for the year – almost 27.5 million gallons.

    The average ‘normal’ daily consumption is 110 gallons – a house at Ros Aitinn on the Clybaun Road was found to be using 11,000 per day (which would cost almost €38,500), while another property at St Brendan’s Terrace in Woodquay is using 7,871 gallons per day (€27,422).


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,271 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    Irish Water are having a public consultation and offering the public the chance to make submissions on its Water Services Strategic Plan;

    http://www.water.ie/about-us/project-and-plans/future-plans/

    Closing date for submissions Monday September 1st 2014.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Water meters were fitted in our street about 7 years ago. They also set up a remote reader on the local lampost to send the data back - no drive-by reader. They fitted a new water main and fitted water meters at that time. They reduced water leaks to zero. They stopped monitoring the meters about 4 years ago.

    According to DCC, our household consumption was below average at a bit less than 100 cu m per year. Using that figure, our bill will be 100 - 30 (free allowance) =70 by €4.88 = 341.60, well above the €270 it will be for non-metered consumption, (two adults, no kids) and well above the 'average' of €240. I think that 150 cu m would be closer average for a two adult household.

    They have come up with the craziest cost scheme imaginable. Given they said the average charge per household would be €240 each house (fixed by Government): then with a consumption of 100 cu m/an gives the figures below:

    If they had a standard charge of say €140, and would then get €1 per cu m.
    If they had a standard charge of say €40, and would then get €2 per cu m.
    If they had a standard charge of say €0, (free usage of 30 cu. m) and would then get €3.40 per cu m.
    If they had a standard charge of say €0, free usage (30 cu m) and 1 child (20 cu m)would then get €4.80 per cu m.
    (I think I see where the €4.88 per cu m came from - but not based on reality).

    The free usage and no standing charge pushes up the cost per cu m if the average is fixed. This has the opposite effect the politicos wanted. If there is a standing charge that is high, the cost per cu m comes down. But with no standing charge and a generous free allowance, this causes people to see the actual cost of water (per cu m.) to be huge, and a lot of people will try to reduce consumption by not flushing the loo. If you are above the free allowance, then every cu m. cost you €4.88 and so every flush (9l) costs 4.4c. Not flushing the loo is not just unhygenic but it also affects the sewage system by reducing the volume/flow of water and increasing the percentage of the lumpy stuff - not good.

    The commercial charges by DCC are €2 per cu m. The free allowances should be scrapped and a standing charge of €40 should apply. The government parties will pay a huge price for this come the next election.


    Free allowances for children should go too and if politically required should be on the social welfare children's allowance, not Irish Water. The value of the free allowance per child (using published charges) is €102.48/year compared with the social welfare benefit of €130 per month or €1,560 per year for the child allowance payable to all children up to 16 or up to 18 if in full time education.

    It is just daft to expect a semi-state operation to be chasing such nonsense as children's PPS numbers and checking their ages. (Will there be a rent a kid scam).

    How about a free electricity allowance for babies to warm their bottle?


  • Registered Users Posts: 571 BonkeyDonker


    Not flushing the loo is not just unhygenic but it also affects the sewage system by reducing the volume/flow of water and increasing the percentage of the lumpy stuff - not good.

    Maybe it doesnt say alot good for me, but that made me chuckle.

    As for no standing charges - I agree, not having them is stupid as it drives up the variable rate(the price per litre). It will ultimately end up costing people more, as their "free" allowance is accounted for in the cost of their remaining water usage. But it made for good PR at the time for a few politico types.

    At least Irish water have said that not having one will drive up the price, as they need to allow for the "free" allowance somehow.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Maybe it doesnt say alot good for me, but that made me chuckle.

    As for no standing charges - I agree, not having them is stupid as it drives up the variable rate(the price per litre). It will ultimately end up costing people more, as their "free" allowance is accounted for in the cost of their remaining water usage. But it made for good PR at the time for a few politico types.

    At least Irish water have said that not having one will drive up the price, as they need to allow for the "free" allowance somehow.

    This is the very point. It is like buying a mobile phone that gives you an iPhone for 'free' on a 24 month contract at €60 per month. That is a €1440 contract for a €500 free gift.

    Every litre used once you are above the 'free' allowance will cost .44c whatever your usage. Thus flushing the loo costs 3.06c if you have a modern 9l flush but upto double that if you have an old one. To have a shower might cost 20c. It brings back that old Irish saying "did you switch off the immersion?"

    Heaven help us from such terror as leaving on the immersion or let a tap drip.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,995 Schadenfreudia


    I read today a claim that

    "the cost of water in Ireland (Europe's wettest regions) will be 500% higher than the cost of water in Southern Spain (Europe's driest regions)"

    Anyone know if this is true?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 687 Five Lamps


    I read today a claim that

    "the cost of water in Ireland (Europe's wettest regions) will be 500% higher than the cost of water in Southern Spain (Europe's driest regions)"

    Anyone know if this is true?

    Doesn't really matter how wet the country is. It's the infrastructure to contain and supply drinking water that matters. Also it has 10 times the population so you'll have economies of scale that you don't have here.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,995 Schadenfreudia


    Five Lamps wrote: »
    Doesn't really matter how wet the country is. It's the infrastructure to contain and supply drinking water that matters. Also it has 10 times the population so you'll have economies of scale that you don't have here.

    OK.

    Let me rephrase!

    Is it true that water in Spain is one fifth the cost of what is proposed in Ireland?

    (And I'd suggest rainfall matters very much indeed, and population density , is rather more relevant that total population).


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    I am not familliar with water costs in Spain, but I would not be surprised if that were true.

    It is certainly true that the Government have chosen a very stupid charging scheme. Commercial units pay approx. €2 per cu metre for water (where metered) in DCC and Fingal CC. Domestic users will be charged more than double this amount.

    The TDs were caught up in the overwhelming demand that no standing charge be levied and users should have a 'free' allowance. They obviously did not understand that if the average charge was fixed (at €240/yr) then the cost per litre would be very high. The more 'free' allowance (like extra 'free' water for children) pushes up the per cu. m. cost. It also increases the cross subsidy from one group towards the other.

    They should have settled on a standing charge of €140 per yr and we would then have a charge of €1 per cu. m.

    Remember, (nearly) all users will exceed the 'free allowance' and so pay the €4.88 per cu. m. for their water. I]Why are TDs so stupid?[/I


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    OK.

    Let me rephrase!

    Is it true that water in Spain is one fifth the cost of what is proposed in Ireland?

    (And I'd suggest rainfall matters very much indeed, and population density , is rather more relevant that total population).

    You might check this out.

    http://www.publicpolicy.ie/domestic-water-charges-in-europe/

    Table 1: Water prices across selected cities (per 1000 litres)
    Domestic-Water-page-001.jpg

    So while Madrid is shown at €.99 /cu.m, Milan is only €0.40 /cu.m.

    So, no, Spain is not the cheapest but is one of the cheapest. And Dublin is not the dearest but is one of the dearest.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,304 ✭✭✭ serfboard


    They're not stupid - it's just that the only thing they know anything about is how to get planning permissions and medical cards, and that seems to be enough for us to keep re-electing them.
    So, no, Spain is not the cheapest but is one of the cheapest.
    Spain is cheap for a lot of things so there's no surprise there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,516 ✭✭✭✭ Idbatterim


    some of the leakage on private property is insane, at least these should be quick and cheap fixes in most cases, that will save insane amounts...


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 687 Five Lamps


    OK.

    Let me rephrase!

    Is it true that water in Spain is one fifth the cost of what is proposed in Ireland?

    (And I'd suggest rainfall matters very much indeed, and population density , is rather more relevant that total population).

    I don't agree. The cost is capturing, storing and distributing water. Spain may get less rainfall than Ireland but they may well have enough average rainful for the purpose.

    Also population density is not the key issue - it's more about concentrations or urbanisation. SPain has a low population density but also has concentrations of populations on coastlines and large urban centres. If you can set up system correctly then you can get the required economies of scale and lower costs per litre.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    The charges in Ireland, at this stage, are irrelevant to actual costs.

    Currently, it is a tax gathering exercise as 50% of water is lost through leaks. There is no time to address this prior to bills going out. The proposal is for usage to be charged for, rather than infrastructure. Having wasted €180m setting up the company, and then taking on all the local authority employees, and so saddling themselves with too many employees, I think usage is the least cost.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 78,221 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    The charges in Ireland, at this stage, are irrelevant to actual costs.

    Currently, it is a tax gathering exercise as 50% of water is lost through leaks. There is no time to address this prior to bills going out. The proposal is for usage to be charged for, rather than infrastructure. Having wasted €180m setting up the company, and then taking on all the local authority employees, and so saddling themselves with too many employees, I think usage is the least cost.
    Let's stick to Infrastructure-relevant discussion.

    Moderator


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