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Water charges…  March 15, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.



Curious piece here by James Nix in the Irish Times about water charges last week. His argument is that water charges ‘help us respect a scarce resource’.  Well it’s a theory, but precious little evidence to support the contention. It’s genuinely depressing seeing how many people buy into the charges model. But it is also deeply puzzling. This is a resource provision paid out of general taxation across many years. It is indeed underfunded but that fact doesn’t in any way support the imposition of charges. Indeed charges, whether based on consumption or not appear very much beside the point. It’s particularly dispiriting to see water consumption compared to Sky TV or whatever.

A useful series of links provided by one commentor undermines other aspects of the article, including assertions made about average personal use.

This article phrase includes the word “use”, which is not supported by published data on daily per person water use. If it is meant to be a ratio of water leaving water treatment plants to population size, that should be clearly stated.

“November 2015 suggest the average person in Ireland accounts for ** 400 ** litres of water use a day (146,000 litres a year), some five times higher than in Belgium.”

Dublin City Council’s figure is much lower at 148 l/p/d


DCC metric is similar to the data in the Pacific Institute, which in fact quantifies Irish domestic water use below that of Britain.


Remedial work on water distribution pre-dates Irish Water.

“The Dublin Region has been very proactive in managing water leakage since the mid 1990’s through the Active Leakage Reduction Programme and the Watermains Rehabilitation Programme. As a result leakage levels have been reduced from 43% to 29% from 1997 to 2009”


I hope that this data helps« less


1. CL - March 15, 2016

“Sinn Féin wants to establish an independent commission to examine the best way to deliver water services”..
“I think that if you set up an independent commission and you ask it to look at the best model of public ownership then I do think there is a responsibility to accept its recommendations when it does come back.” O Broin
Leave it to the experts, take the issue out of the political arena?


2. lcox - March 15, 2016

I’ve started putting together a wee list of people who are doing research on the water charges movement, not least given how huge it is and how significant in terms of working-class political organising in Ireland. For now I’m mostly just putting people in touch with each other to save reinventing the wheel but hopefully in time something more like an online archive may come out of it.

It may sound extravagant but my feeling is that the movement is representing a political transformation in many working-class areas, which will have knock-on effects long past the issue itself in terms of mobilisation and politicisation.

If any CLR readers know people (doesn’t matter whether students, academics, independent researchers or good journalists) working on the movement (not the issue – there is plenty out there on that) do please ask them to drop me a line at laurence.cox@nuim.ie. Cheers!


Michael Carley - March 15, 2016

This and its footnotes look like a good place to start:



WorldbyStorm - March 15, 2016

Great idea lcox


lcox - March 16, 2016

Thanks both!


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