High Water Mark



Above from left: Wicklow community activist Fiona Nichols with Unite official and Right2Water coordinator Brendan Ogle and Solidarity TD Paul Murphy

This morning.

Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2

Right2Water activists, including Brendan Ogle and Paul Murphy,  welcomed the “now inevitable” ending of domestic water charges and blanket metering programme, the “consensus that there must be a referendum on protecting the ownership of the public water system in the Constitution” and called on all charges against water protesters to be dropped.

Community campaigner Fiona Nichols, from Wicklow added:

“This is our win, it is a win for a peoples’ movement all over Ireland, but while it is a massive win it is also a partial win. We want all single meters gone.

These meters save nothing, suck up money needed to fix leaks and ultimately they become the hardware of water privatisation”

Details of the planned Right2Water demonstration  in Dublin next Saturday were also confirmed.

to wit:



Right2Water (Facebook)

66 thoughts on “High Water Mark

  1. b

    note the sudden concern for people wasting water when it was angrily argued before that it was not a problem

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      What then of the plan to swell Dinny’s coffers with the installation of a further 300,000 meters? We are beaten over the head daily with threats of fines from the EU for breaches of the plan. No mention whatever of the previous Government’s and Alan Kelly as point man’s absolutely deliberate failure to renew our derogation. We have been handed over, yet again, as an entire people to the privatisation vultures.

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        PS. I’ll be there, as I have for every Dublin march – despite my age – and in company with people far older than me. We MUST at last teach Government that they can’t ride rough shod over us all the time. Have a look at the motto of Dublin City – could it be more depressing or annoying?

        1. b

          not sure what your age has to do with anything?

          except that our water infrastructure is the only thing older that your generation

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      Aldi are selling a hot tub next week. Actavo will have to set phasers to stun.

    3. ollie

      Irish domestic water consumption is below the Eu average, therefore water is not wasted by the end user.

  2. shitferbrains

    Yes let’s put the state in charge. That’ll work. As it has done. Up to now.

      1. Rob_G

        They couldn’t; they had to guess.

        ‘Previously, only commercial water use was metered so household consumption was estimated and subtracted from the known quantities of water supplied.

        “The rollout of domestic metering by Irish Water across the county in 2014 has enabled a calculation of UFW [unaccounted for water] using data based on actual domestic consumption from Irish Water which now presents a more robust baseline,” said NOAC.[National Oversight and Audit Commission]’


        1. Fact Checker

          And indeed who would pay for the extraction of all the meters?

          And who would get the contract?

        2. bisted

          …not true…for Dublin anyway…about 20 years ago Dublin Corporation engaged consultants from a company called Hyder (previously Welsh Water) to survey the system and make recommendations. It was they who recognised and measured the extent of the leakage. They even pinpointed where the most serious water loss was occuring and how this could be remedied. As ever, their report was ignored and gathers dust…

          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            Well that’ll go down like a lead balloon, bisted. Doesn’t jibe with the ‘wasters don’t want to pay for anything’ mob. Who can forget the glorious fountains erupting on the Swords/Drumcondra road, which might be there for six weeks? People sometimes miss the point – it is not a straight choice between “Local Authority – inefficient” and “Private Company – efficient” – both of which are to some extent untrue. We can have Local Authority – properly funded AND supervised. The best solution.

          2. Rob_G

            Thousands of new houses have been added to the water system in the last 20 years, some of which will inevitably have developed leaks, so I am not sure how a 20 year-old report could be comparable to individual meters for every household.

          3. Rob_G

            Between a quote from the National Oversight and Audit Commission that says that you do, and a quote from an anonymous internet person that doesn’t provide many specifics that says that you don’t, I think I will go with the NOAC.

          4. Fact Checker

            Hundreds of thousands

            About a third of national housing stock built in the last 20 years I think.

          5. bisted

            …whether it’s the Hyder survey from 20 years ago or the system that Denis is currently metering it’s still based on the same water supply…a triumph of Victorian engineering for the most part. More to do with the brits than the FFers or blueshirts and nothing to do with Alan Kelly or Big Phil…

      1. Rob_G

        How much would it cost to send some lad with a microphone around to every house on the water grid every couple of years to listen for leaks? Seems like if we have water meters in place already, it would make more sense to use them…

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          You are clearly making things up as you go along. Try arguing honestly, for a change.

        2. KM

          Block metering fill find the estate ot number of houses the leaks is in. The lad with the sonar just has to check those. Meters are a tool of privatization, people do not want them. Bord Gais said they did not need them originally. Wastage of water is not an issue in this country, block metering, pressure tests and sonar can find leaks which everyone agrees needs to be fixed.

  3. munkifisht

    You have a right to electricity, gas, telephone connection, internet etc etc etc, yet no one considers that charging more to customers who use more of these products is a bad thing. Water is not a free resource- we have to get that idea out of our thick heads. Water costs money and the excessive use of water is bad for the environment. Water waste is a major issue and the infrastructure that hasn’t been upgraded in years is crumbling. I would challenge anyone to argue that those who use the most water should be the ones who contribute most to its supply.

    1. b

      ” I would challenge anyone to argue that those who use the most water should be the ones who contribute most to its supply.”

      you don’t need to challenge them at all, there will be thousands of the clowns on the streets this Saturday

    2. nellyb

      Challenge away, it’s a moot point as of today.There is lot to sort out before water is metered.

    3. Graham F

      Heavy users of water are the ones who keep it flowing. you should be thanking them not attacking them.

    4. Daisy Chainsaw

      We know it’s not a free resource. Under the 1997 Finance Act, 2% of VAT and 5% of Road Tax has been ringfenced for water infrastructure so we are paying for it. If the government wants to move to a direct charging system, then VAT rates, Road Tax and VRT need to be reduced accordingly.

      1. ollie

        Now now Daisy. There are people getting paid good taxpayers money courtesy of Fine Gael to come on here and castigate water protestors. How dare you use truth to counteract their lies!

        1. Kieran Nice Young Chap

          Yeah, it must be that instead of people having a different opinion to you.

          Anyone who disagrees with you must be getting paid to do so.

          Jaysus wept, what a paranoid fantasy.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            You are such a vaccuous bully. Do you have anything positive or interesting to say about anything? All you do is abuse people.

            “Racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny, misandry, libel, abuse, bullying, incitement to hatred and hijacking the usernames of other commenters are not. In fairness.”

            I’m amazed you’ve not been banned yet.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            More trolling and bullying from the slightly less misogynist version of Clampers.

      2. Rob_G

        @ Daisy

        – do you really think that model works so well? Why not expand it to gas, electricity, even paying for groceries, if so?

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Thanks for confirming you are arguing purely from an ideological position.

          1. Rob_G

            Well, under this model, there would be no impetus for conservation – why bother turning off the immersion when it isn’t going to cost you an extra cent personally?

        2. Boj

          Lower the % Daisy outlined above and give a referendum on water ownership and a lot of people will be in agreement with you Rob – until that happens, we are just being taken for yet another ride.

        1. Daisy Chainsaw


          (Caps Govt’s own.)

          1. Cian

            It doesn’t put any values 2% or 5% (as you said it did).
            It also didn’t ringfence anything (as you said it did).

            If you look here: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/vat/rates/current-historic-rates-vat.html the VAT rate didn’t rise in 1997. So if VAT wasn’t increased in 1997 to pay for water, why should VAT now be reduced if they charge directly for water?

            So that Act stopped councils from charging for water, and said the government would use monies from elsewhere. But not how much, or from where.

    5. KM

      We will never see the drought that the water frame directive was established to tackle. It is why we have the 9.4 exemption.

      People can live without gas/electric/phone etc. They cannot live without water. As such, we have always paid for the upkeep and repair of the water supply. Governments however have not spent enough to upgrade the system. Once FG/Lab came into government they cut funding from 800mil per annum down to 215mil per annum.

      Fixing the leaks would save 40% of water. Privatization is not the answer to a leaking broken system. The city of London has had privatized water supply for 30-40 years, yet still looses a 26% a day.

      People against the charges know that if they were allowed to come in, they would rise and rise. The following privatization would mean higher charges for less investment. It will bring water poverty into a country that already has over a million people living in deprivation – a country where it rains 200 days a year, a country that does not waste water.

      This government has the chance to end this water war now. The findings of the committee do not go far enough.

      1. Sqoid

        The average daily household consumption per person per day is 130litres. There’s definitely wastage.

        The water framework directive is not just concerned with preventing drought but also concerned with securing good ecological status of all natural and artificial water ways.

        Experience in Germany and other Northern European countries have shown that it’s not economically feasible to try get leakage much below 10%.

        I welcome a national (island wide ideally) organisation to ensure proper management of the whole water cycle. This would include, surface water drainage, flood control and water basin management. Irish Water does not deal with any of these things and was setup to take control only of assets that could provide revenue.

        I’m not against domestic meters, I’m not against a per consumption metered charge with an allowance, I’m against an organisation that was setup in such a way to make it attractive and suitable for privitisation.

  4. ollie

    Over €24 billion in VAT collected in 2016, 2% of this comes to €4.8 billion
    Over €1 billion in motor tax, 5% of this comes to €5 million.
    Therefore there’s almost €5 billion available each year to upgrade the water network.
    But…….Irish Water asked for €1.5 billion for operating expenses for 2017 & 2018 but only €1.2 billion for capital expenditure, shows where their priorities are!
    Anglian water, who serve a total of 4.3 million customers had operating costs of 620 million in 2015, half that of Irish Water with a lot more customers.
    That’s why I will never engage with Irish Water

    1. sqoid

      €1.5 billion over two years, so a whooping 20% more than Anglican by your own figures.
      Also go have a look at the geographical area served by Anglican Water

      Any organisation than prioritises capital expenditure at the expense of adequate operating costs does not deserve to, nor should expect to last.

    2. Cian

      I don’t know where you got those figures, but your decimal places are all wrong.
      2% of €24bn is €480m.
      5% of €1bn is 50m.
      == €520m
      and the rest of your argument is moot.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      dav, they have proved on each and every important matter besetting this country that they couldn’t organise a crap in a paper bag.

      1. dav

        But the thought of their fellow conservatives laughing at their incompetence must infuriate them, after all their sole goal seems in government is to get pats on their heads from their “betters”

  5. Seamus Ward

    I am happier now that R2W are active on todays disclosures.. However I do not trust FG and how they didnt return to the meeting.. all that aside .. Can I ask about our 9.4 exemption ?, this was my favoured solution to the funding as this would come from the Polluter Pays Principle..as it stands it makes it more easy for the Govt to tax everyone and increase taxes at will to fund I.W .
    We must have a referendum as a matter of urgency . A Referendum and not a Plebiscite ,, wording must be clear and precise .. to secure Irelands Water into the constitution for eternity , The company named Irish Water must not have any mention on this .
    Irish Water should be abolished and water management returned to Local Authorities.

  6. Tony O'Leary

    And once again nothing about the rural population who have to pay for water already; either through private water schemes or by digging their own well, installing filtration systems and pumps, maintaining these systems and then providing for disposal through septic tanks.
    If general taxation is supposed to cover this, then where are the refunds for the rural population?
    Oh I forgot, rural Ireland doesn’t count.

    1. Fact Checker

      Dead right.

      Although this is the one area of public policy where one-off housing in rural Ireland does not get a subsidy.

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