Freedom of Information documents obtained by Ken Foxe relating to the documentary The Story of Water, produced by Irish Water
Ken Foxe writes:
The brand of Irish Water had been “badly damaged” and continually “politicised” and the level of public trust & confidence in the company was low, according to creative brief for €800,000 TV documentary ‘The Story of Water‘ that they planned to produce.
Budget for the project had originally allowed for a spend of up to €2million.
This included €942,000 for the documentary itself, which proved cheaper to make (see below).
Also included is a fee for either RTÉ or Virgin to broadcast it … this ended up costing just €1.
This was not “about politics”, “charges or meters”, the brief stated, but instead about ‘educating the Irish public about the size & scale of problems facing Ireland’s water network’.
The documentary was to follow Irish Water’s ‘Tone of Voice’: this being ‘honest and respectful, clear and straight talking, approachable and reliable, experienced and professional’.
The target audience was broken up into four key demographics: advocates, supporters, dissenters and detractors.
Public trust and confidence in Irish Water was tracking at 44%. There was a very low awareness of size and scale of issues faced. And there was a low openness to hearing about future plans & work
The board of Irish Water were told it was time to “shape the conversation” and “move it away from bills and meters”.
The Documentary would help “bust” the ‘fairy story that surrounds Ireland’s water supply and the idea that it is endless’.
The documentary ended up costing just over €800,000, about €137k below the production budget “due to efficiencies”.
Seven in ten people who watched it felt “more confident that Irish Water have projects and plans … underway to address the issues raised”