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Water charges revisited?

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  • 26-06-2018 8:33am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 1,837 ✭✭✭


    We have come from one of the wettest periods in our weather patterns, we've had about 6 weeks of reasonably dry weather, we're facing in to a heatwave and already they're talking about water restrictions.
    I see in a separate headline that health has acceded its budget in the hundreds of millions already this year, though tax takes are up all our services are struggling it seems, increasing costs eating up any gains it looks like.
    Should we now be looking at revisiting some way of charging for water usage given that its obvious even to a blind donkey that our water system is a sieve and that we won't be able to invest as necessary to fix it up.
    Are politicians now seriously really against these charges still or just playing the populist game?
    https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/heatwave-continues-as-dry-spell-puts-pressure-on-water-supplies-851147.html


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,852 ✭✭✭✭Idbatterim


    Edward M wrote: »
    We have come from one of the wettest periods in our weather patterns, we've had about 6 weeks of reasonably dry weather, we're facing in to a heatwave and already they're talking about water restrictions.
    I see in a separate headline that health has acceded its budget in the hundreds of millions already this year, though tax takes are up all our services are struggling it seems, increasing costs eating up any gains it looks like.
    Should we now be looking at revisiting some way of charging for water usage given that its obvious even to a blind donkey that our water system is a sieve and that we won't be able to invest as necessary to fix it up.
    Are politicians now seriously really against these charges still or just playing the populist game?
    https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/heatwave-continues-as-dry-spell-puts-pressure-on-water-supplies-851147.html
    no due to politics here it won’t happen. With property price rises, they can generate more from the lpt. Of course the moron tds are already looking at lowering the rates there, due to the hikes in property!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,837 ✭✭✭Edward M


    Idbatterim wrote: »
    no due to politics here it won’t happen. With property price rises, they can generate more from the lpt. Of course the moron tds are already looking at lowering the rates there, due to the hikes in property!

    I see your point, but taking everything into consideration, in the end is user pays not the best policy?
    I know all the arguments have been gone through before, the debacle IW was and poor governing re implementation of charges, but if a better way of putting charges forward was found, and there must be one, could the public not be brought to see that paying for the service as a stand alone charge would be best all round?


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,998 ✭✭✭✭VinLieger


    Idbatterim wrote: »
    no due to politics here it won’t happen. With property price rises, they can generate more from the lpt. Of course the moron tds are already looking at lowering the rates there, due to the hikes in property!


    They need to lower the rates as the cost of some peoples property tax will have doubled since its introduction, they wont be getting less money from the LPT by reducing rates they will just be fairly accounting for the property price bubble


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,618 ✭✭✭El Tarangu


    Edward M wrote: »
    I see your point, but taking everything into consideration, in the end is user pays not the best policy?

    While I 100% agree with you, I'm sure it won't happen. Paul Murphy's rent-a-mob would only be delighted for a chance to get out and about to jump on a bandwagon in the current sunny weather; I can't see either the current government or the next government (which I presume will be coalition of either FF or FG along with some strange bedfellows, with a very narrow majority) risking the political capital needed to go after the sacred cow of "free" water.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    It is the best policy but it's politically toxic now. No way is anyone going to stick their head above that parapet for at least another generation. We're stuck with what we have at the moment.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,013 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    If we brought in a charge for everything the state, (council/national) ignored or mismanaged we'd have a plethora of new fees.
    They should have been investing in water supply for decades, not getting an interest because they saw a new way to make a few bob for crony board appointments, sweet deals, (still under investigation) and not wanting to be seen to raise taxes. That's what it was ultimately all about. What a complete waste of tax payer money.
    Again Fine Gael and Labour hyped and in part created Paul Murphy not the general public. They didn't even want him at the Jobstown protest. They needed a whipping boy when the general public where up in arms.

    They can find the money when they want to. If they monetise water they'll privatise it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 36,341 ✭✭✭✭LuckyLloyd


    As I always said, I'd have no problem in principle with paying for water charges, but I was manifestly opposed to the manner of its introduction. What's done is done, and FG need to appropriate more of the general tax take towards water infrastructure across their coming budgets.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,731 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    LuckyLloyd wrote: »
    As I always said, I'd have no problem in principle with paying for water charges, but I was manifestly opposed to the manner of its introduction. What's done is done, and FG need to appropriate more of the general tax take towards water infrastructure across their coming budgets.
    We've been told that 10 billion is required to get it up to standard.
    This can't come out of the tax take without major sacrifices which never go down well with the electorate!


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,070 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    The main issue, as far as I was concerned, was that the money to be raised, even if 100% collected, would not even have covered the administrative costs of the feckless, bloated quango they set up to run it. That massive political error torpedoed the whole idea and took it off the table for decades. Yes the EU will have a problem with that, but frankly I think its own existential crisis and the rise of ultra nationalism will more occupy their minds than pipes in Ireland.

    I still believe Irish Water should be disbanded with the infrastructure provision being handed over to TII, who have decades of experience delivering billion euro civil projects, and the local water management being handed back to the County Councils who have the people where it matters.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,932 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    We've been told that 10 billion is required to get it up to standard.
    This can't come out of the tax take without major sacrifices which never go down well with the electorate!

    Well then borrow and pay for it. There is no shortage of cash in this state for flights of fancy but infrastructure is always down the list.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,654 ✭✭✭✭MJohnston


    Edward M wrote: »
    We have come from one of the wettest periods in our weather patterns, we've had about 6 weeks of reasonably dry weather, we're facing in to a heatwave and already they're talking about water restrictions.

    Just as a quick fact-check, this is not quite correct. Out of the last 6 months, we've had 3 whole months (June, May, February) significantly below average rainfall in the Dublin area. One month (March) was significantly above average rainfall, but the majority of that came in a very short period at the start of the month, which is the kind of rainfall that isn't particularly helpful to replenishing groundwater supplies (it runs off quickly and ends up mostly in the sea). The other months were about average.

    So this is much more than 6 weeks of reasonably dry weather, it's 12 weeks of extremely dry weather. June in particular, the mean rainfall is 69.1mm at Phoenix Park, and this year we've had 3.8mm. That's extreme. We can't really describe any of this period as 'the wettest period in our weather patterns either', as only March has been significantly wetter than usual.

    So not only do you have much less water going into the system, you have much more going out of it too - both increased usage with people water gardens, but also increased evaporation at reservoirs with more direct sunlight.

    Added to that, the temperatures in May and June have been quite a bit above average, which increases water usage by itself, people are thirstier!

    The deviations from our mean rainfalls and long-term-average temperatures by themselves show that this is a period of extreme weather in Irish terms.


  • Posts: 17,728 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    Just don't increase job seekers allowance going forward. Look after some of the water charges out of the savings. Pensions and disability payments can be increased as planned IMO.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    Let's be realistic though. While there are options that may change some people's opinion, there is a big enough constituency out there who don't want water charges full stop, no matter what way they're run. Whatever it is, they'll find some reason to object.

    Which means there'd be uproar if the water system was turned back to local authorities and they levied water charges and there'd be uproar if the water system was turned over to TII and they levied water charges.


  • Registered Users Posts: 36,341 ✭✭✭✭LuckyLloyd


    We've been told that 10 billion is required to get it up to standard.
    This can't come out of the tax take without major sacrifices which never go down well with the electorate!

    Interest rates will never be this low again. It's an infrastructure expense, split it into phases and get moving on the biggest priority items up front. I will consistently advocate government investment in infrastructure.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,013 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Irish Water explains it all. There's no interest in upgrading the infrastructure unless there's some kind of gimmick attached. If some money and attention was put into it rather than patching, it wouldn't be in such a mess. There was no interest, but throw a quango in the mix and it's suddenly the number one crisis we need deal with immediately after almost going belly up as a nation and looking after the banks. Funny that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭crossman47


    listermint wrote: »
    Well then borrow and pay for it. There is no shortage of cash in this state for flights of fancy but infrastructure is always down the list.

    But if you borrow and pay for it, it still comes out of tax. Just a question of timing unless you think borrowed money is paid for some other way. Irish Water was the right idea i.e. a commercial body whose borrowings would be off the states books but it was ineptly handled and gave Murphy and his gang the excuse they needed to raise their profile.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,852 ✭✭✭✭Idbatterim


    It is the best policy but it's politically toxic now. No way is anyone going to stick their head above that parapet for at least another generation. We're stuck with what we have at the moment.

    agreed, it would take another bail out to even consider it I reckon. Given what has happened though, they may not ever go down that route again though...
    They need to lower the rates as the cost of some peoples property tax will have doubled since its introduction, they wont be getting less money from the LPT by reducing rates they will just be fairly accounting for the property price bubble
    Are you a politician by any chance? I hear terms used, like "catastrophic" "insane" about the rate hikes from local councillors, wow , they will go from E400 ish to E800 a year, people renting in dublin are paying E800-900 a room, massive hikes in rent, massive property price jumps, E50-60k a year on average houses in Dublin. Yet .18% of the value of a property being taxed, needs to be meddled with? spare me! LPT is an open goal for them, just leave it as it is, they will need to spend massive amounts going forward on health, ageing population, infrastructure. It absolutely hilarious to me, the economy doing well again, you think they would have billions to throw at every one come election time, every year, those days are LOOOOOOONG over!


  • Registered Users Posts: 726 ✭✭✭The Legend Of Kira


    The issue of water charges will be revisited in the future at some point. Some people may of heard about the 9.4 exemption clause Ireland had to avoid domestic water charges, MEP Marian Harkin spoke about this clause a year ago.

    https://www.oceanfm.ie/2017/06/23/north-west-mep-says-government-has-the-key-to-preventing-future-water-charges/

    Unknown to a lot of people the 9.4 exemption clause wasn,t included in the recent River Basin Management Plan to be kept meaning its gone- as the 9.4 exemption clause is gone the whole water charges issue will have to be revisited.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,837 ✭✭✭Edward M


    The issue of water charges will be revisited in the future at some point. Some people may of heard about the 9.4 exemption clause Ireland had to avoid domestic water charges, MEP Marian Harkin spoke about this clause a year ago.

    https://www.oceanfm.ie/2017/06/23/north-west-mep-says-government-has-the-key-to-preventing-future-water-charges/

    Unknown to a lot of people the 9.4 exemption clause wasn,t included in the recent River Basin Management Plan to be kept meaning its gone- as the 9.4 exemption clause is gone the whole water charges issue will have to be revisited.

    That's all been debated too I think.
    We have this farce now of being fined for over consumption, whereby after a reasonable amount you will have to pay for your overuse.
    Now,how the hell can that be enforced or consumption monitored without metering.
    I think that clause was introduced to try to overcome what you mention, but as I said without full metering its just ridiculous.
    The whole thing, from the party's that sought to introduce it and their handling of it, to the ones who opposed it was just ridiculous really IMO.
    An Irish solution to a problem that has still left a huge problem!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,837 ✭✭✭Edward M


    Irish Water explains it all. There's no interest in upgrading the infrastructure unless there's some kind of gimmick attached. If some money and attention was put into it rather than patching, it wouldn't be in such a mess. There was no interest, but throw a quango in the mix and it's suddenly the number one crisis we need deal with immediately after almost going belly up as a nation and looking after the banks. Funny that.

    Therein was the problem I think too.
    John Tierney heading it, DOB and siteserve, laughing yoga, it was so easy to sell IW as a pup, and it certainly looked that way.
    The ineffective handling of it by the two ministers who had it before 2016, reversal after reversal of implementation and basically no real prospect of punishment for non payers, it was easily the worst piece of governance since the crash!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,890 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Irish Water explains it all. There's no interest in upgrading the infrastructure unless there's some kind of gimmick attached. If some money and attention was put into it rather than patching, it wouldn't be in such a mess. There was no interest, but throw a quango in the mix and it's suddenly the number one crisis we need deal with immediately after almost going belly up as a nation and looking after the banks. Funny that.

    Try telling those who are facing water shortages next month that there is no problem.

    If Irish Water had got the money it needed from water charges (and please don't post the urban myth about it costing as much to collect them) they would be well on the way to improving the supply.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,852 ✭✭✭✭Idbatterim


    A reasonable amount should be ring fenced for our water infrastructure , good luck with that though. More investment in critical infrastructure or throwing a fiver at all welfare recipients in each years budget. It’s a no brainer for our politicians !


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,064 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12


    Edward M wrote:
    We have come from one of the wettest periods in our weather patterns, we've had about 6 weeks of reasonably dry weather, we're facing in to a heatwave and already they're talking about water restrictions. I see in a separate headline that health has acceded its budget in the hundreds of millions already this year, though tax takes are up all our services are struggling it seems, increasing costs eating up any gains it looks like. Should we now be looking at revisiting some way of charging for water usage given that its obvious even to a blind donkey that our water system is a sieve and that we won't be able to invest as necessary to fix it up. Are politicians now seriously really against these charges still or just playing the populist game?


    Not all of the country got the rain you are talking about. We haven't had a lot of Rainfall in Dublin. We'd be way behind the national average. This is why Irish water are talking about reducing water pressure in Dublin. Personally I think they should reduce now instead of waiting another week or two.

    As far as charges are concerned I don't think they ever went away. The EU hasn't ruled on it yet but its unlikely the current proposals will meet their polluter pays policy. Most people have gotten their heads around having to pay for water. FG made a dogs dinner of bringing it in. That doesn't mean that the idea is wrong.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,837 ✭✭✭Edward M


    Sleeper12 wrote: »
    Not all of the country got the rain you are talking about. We haven't had a lot of Rainfall in Dublin. We'd be way behind the national average. This is why Irish water are talking about reducing water pressure in Dublin. Personally I think they should reduce now instead of waiting another week or two.

    As far as charges are concerned I don't think they ever went away. The EU hasn't ruled on it yet but its unlikely the current proposals will meet their polluter pays policy. Most people have gotten their heads around having to pay for water. FG made a dogs dinner of bringing it in. That doesn't mean that the idea is wrong.

    I see from a couple of posts my weather reference was wrong perhaps, it just seemed to me here that we had more than our fair share, its only in the last three weeks or so that ground actually dried out here in Cavan, we had a very wet spring overall.
    We have been advised to conserve water here too and night time restrictions are in place in nearly all local areas according to local radio.
    I think most wouldn't mind paying for a guaranteed reliable supply.
    I don't know how it could be approached to get people on side with charges, maybe a dry Sumner with low supply might change minds on it.
    But overall I see problems for everybody with the system as it stands, both commercial and private residents alike.
    Something needs to be done to fix the system to make it more reliable and that can only mean huge investment.
    Looking forward I see we are in this hot phase for most of next month, as its Sumner even average rainfall thereafter wont build the supply up anytime quickly either.
    Someone needs to identify a way of getting this problem solved, be it through charging for a vital service or getting ring fenced investment funding from another source.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,064 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12


    Edward M wrote: »
    I see from a couple of posts my weather reference was wrong perhaps, it just seemed to me here that we had more than our fair share, its only in the last three weeks or so that ground actually dried out here in Cavan, we had a very wet spring overall.
    We have been advised to conserve water here too and night time restrictions are in place in nearly all local areas according to local radio.
    I think most wouldn't mind paying for a guaranteed reliable supply.
    I don't know how it could be approached to get people on side with charges, maybe a dry Sumner with low supply might change minds on it.
    But overall I see problems for everybody with the system as it stands, both commercial and private residents alike.
    Something needs to be done to fix the system to make it more reliable and that can only mean huge investment.
    Looking forward I see we are in this hot phase for most of next month, as its Sumner even average rainfall thereafter wont build the supply up anytime quickly either.
    Someone needs to identify a way of getting this problem solved, be it through charging for a vital service or getting ring fenced investment funding from another source.


    I agree with you. I'm a plumber/ shower repair. I'm in 5 to 8 bathrooms per day & the amount a wasted water would make you cry. Not just drippy taps but taps that wont shut off all the & always has a flow of water. Cistern that constantly overflow. Back with the threat of water charges people got these things fixed, now they don't seem to care.


    I'd start off 100 euro per household collected by revenue. From there starting metering with no allowances at all but a cheaper rate of water. Last time giving free water to anyone was stupid but the rate per litre was too high. Then homes without meters should pay a higher rate. This is the UK setup. People then ask to get meters in. In the UK you can't sell a house that doesn't have a meter. This is another way to force meter installation on the anti meter bunch.


    If the government asked the people to pay a reasonable for metered water & had revenue collect it, it could be done.


    As a plumber I see Irish water in Dublin All year around reducing pressure in areas without telling anyone. Mains fed electric showers wont work when they do this but they try all year round to save water. They still don't have enough money to do what they need to do.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭BobMc


    At its core I dont mind the thought of paying for water. But its was the way it was set up and run, end user should pay for what they use & I mean every end user, no skipping out if on dole etc. everyone pays abit. Sick of squeezed middle being bled for more.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,861 ✭✭✭Mr.H


    listermint wrote:
    Well then borrow and pay for it. There is no shortage of cash in this state for flights of fancy but infrastructure is always down the list.


    The idea was to charge people for water (not as a tax but to a company called irish water). That would allow them to remove all outgoing water fees from the books. This would reduce the amount of spend meaning they would be in a better position to take out a massive loan to invest in infrastructure.

    That would all be fine.

    The problem is noone trusts the government to not sell Irish water to a private company (one of their cronies) for a very much reduced amount with absolutely no long term returns. Nothing would stop this new company from charging whatever they wanted then with no competition.

    Of course we all know who the crony would be that would get it. Hint is he already was handed the contract for the meters.

    Unfortunately we have a habit of helping out government friends and screwing the Irish people. Remember when we were tricked into paying someone for saorview boxes? Someone made a fortune from that. Same with our gas supplies, electricity, telecoms and even airline! A lot of friends made a lot of money at our expense. Why would Irish water be any different?


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,365 ✭✭✭✭McMurphy


    blanch152 wrote: »
    Try telling those who are facing water shortages next month that there is no problem.

    If Irish Water had got the money it needed from water charges (and please don't post the urban myth about it costing as much to collect them) they would be well on the way to improving the supply.

    No one said there's no problem, even the various anti IW groups were screaming about how much of the water was leaking from within the system before it reached the mains.

    What people are saying is, water charges was a good idea in principle.

    But the opportunity to put them in place has now been lost , prob for a generation or two, for no other reason than the haimes made by the FG led govts that tried to sell them.

    The debacles involved have already been listed on thread, so no need for me to rehash them, but the fact remains, no direct charges per usage = FGs incompetence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,064 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12


    No one said there's no problem, even the various anti IW groups were screaming about how much of the water was leaking from within the system before it reached the mains.

    What people are saying is, water charges was a good idea in principle.

    But the opportunity to put them in place has now been lost , prob for a generation or two, for no other reason than the haimes made by the FG led govts that tried to sell them.

    The debacles involved have already been listed on thread, so no need for me to rehash them, but the fact remains, no direct charges per usage = FGs incompetence.




    This might not be the case. The EU has yet to rule on this. It's actually thought unlikely if they will pass this. I think with Brexit they are putting the rulling on the long finger. If they rule against us we will have to pay millions in fines each year. I personally believe this will force in water charges


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,861 ✭✭✭Mr.H


    Sleeper12 wrote:
    This might not be the case. The EU has yet to rule on this. It's actually thought unlikely if they will pass this. I think with Brexit they are putting the rulling on the long finger. If they rule against us we will have to pay millions in fines each year. I personally believe this will force in water charges


    I think with brexit and italy hinting that they could follow suit, might make the eu think twice about making other countries think its a good idea.

    Plus we dont need to have a end user charge to comply.


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