Ireland needs entirely new water network – Simon Coveney

31/12/2010

Ireland needs entirely new water network

With thousands of homes going into the New Year without water, Fine Gael Front Bench Spokesman Simon Coveney TD has called for an entirely new approach to water delivery in Ireland.

“The current water crisis is further evidence, if it were needed, that a new and better approach to water delivery is required.

“A new government led by Fine Gael will be committed to seeing beyond short term needs to patch up a broken pipes infrastructure. What is now required is a significant commitment to upgrading the 25,000 km of water pipeline infrastructure in Ireland, and more importantly, a new management structure to plan and take responsibility for the efficient and cost-effective delivery of water to homes and businesses nationally.

“When you look at the facts related to the delivery of water in Ireland, the need for change is obvious:

• We spend €1 billion every year in current and capital expenditure for water treatment and supply, yet up to 50% of treated water leaks through broken pipes into the ground;
• Ireland uses 34 different local authorities, all with their own water management systems, to provide water for four million people; from a national co-ordination and economy of scale perspective, this is madness;
• Much of the 25,000 km of pipeline is out-of-date broken infrastructure which needs replacing, while large numbers of qualified engineers and construction workers are unemployed;
• There is no correlation in Ireland between how much a taxpayer or homeowner is charged for water, and the amount of water that they use.

“Fine Gael will change the costly, inefficient water policy of this government, and employ international best practice with a radical overhaul of Irish water policy. This involves setting up a new water company to take charge of Ireland’s entire water network.

“In the medium term, local authorities will continue to work with the new water company on a contract basis to deliver services locally. However, it will be the responsibility of the new company to co-ordinate, plan for, and finance the upgrading of the entire infrastructure, as well as the roll-out of water meters to every home, and the management structures that will reduce the cost of delivery over time.

“We are the only Party, in government or in opposition, that has a comprehensive, costed and financially feasible plan to deliver a new water network for Ireland. For more details look at Fine Gael’s NewERA strategy for delivering a new energy, telecommunications and water infrastructure over the lifetime of the next government: www.finegael.ie.”