Why is ‘Toxic’ Irish Water between 13% – 26% cheaper than ‘non toxic’ NI Water…?

On 21 January Sinn Fein launched their election campaign to abolish water charges in Ireland, which in typically Irish fashion are unnecessarily complicated with headline revenues of €266m a year, €150m in claimable subsidies and a €21m collection cost, netting approximately €95m per year.

It’s an unusual arrangement that reflects much political interference versus the more traditional OECD model of full recovery and profit, with subsidies aimed at the less well off in some jurisdictions.

History of Water charges

In 1977 in the most cynical episode of auction politics in Irish history the electorate endorsed a platform to abolish three solid and stable sources of income: motor tax, domestic rates and water rates, within a few years motor tax was reintroduced followed by revived water rates in 1983, you can’t govern a country without money and in 1983 Ireland running a colossal deficit had no public money.

In 1997 with the coffers overflowing at the height of the tech bubble, water rates were abolished for a second time. Services now paid for by general government funds.

In 2008 a calamitous period arrived where some €100bn was borrowed over a 7 year period into 2014 to pay solely for day to day expenditure such as pensions and public services over and above what general taxation was able to raise in an economy on its knees initially.

Reintroduction of Water Charges

In 2014 water charges were announced as being reintroduced as of 1 January 2015, initially based on a system based on an allowance for the first two adults and first two children and then per 1000 litres above that.

The average charge was calculated as likely to be €240 per household based on two adults and two children, however a major mistake in framing these charges was a failure to give allowances to larger households with say 2 parents, 2 adult children and 4 school age children, which resulted in conspiracy theories being deceitfully spread that very many households would pay an average of €1,000 per year.

Understandably there was a lot of concern which manifested itself in protest marches that achieved a crescendo on 1 November 2014 when RTE estimated that c120,000 protested in most counties from Donegal to Wexford, the largest protest number achieved in Ireland since January 1980, ironically against general tax rising to make up for abolished water rates.

The government climbed down, capping charges for 3 years at €260 per household and  €160 per sole occupancy household. However once people registered with Irish Water they were entitled to claim a conservation grant worth €100 per household for each of the first three years.

It is generally felt that it was a mistake to eliminate metered charges when it was far easier to rectify by allowing all occupants of the house to receive an allowance, as verified by their PPS or national insurance numbers.

Protest numbers fell away gradually over the next 14 months to the extent that on 23 January 2015 crowds at 30 events are likely to have totalled between 10,000 and 12,000, clearly the public have moved on, figures released in January 2015 confirm that 64% of the amount billed was collected in Q3 last year up from 43% in Q1.

Comparable analysis Irish Water versus Northern Ireland Water

 Conventional wisdom is that if you have 34 local authorities each providing water services but confined to the geographical area that amalgamating water service provision into a single nationally managed utility will be cheaper as geographical barriers and duplicity of management structure are removed.

In the case of Ireland this was not straightforward as over 4,000 local authority jobs were protected by existing employment contracts and the planned 1,500 reduction in staff numbers to roughly 3,000 staff is proceeding more slowly via retirements and voluntary departures versus a large redundancy process.  

To October 2015 some 300 staff have left the business and not been replaced, with annual savings targets of 7% in each of 2015 and 2016 with the process seen as completing in 2020 with costs close to 26% or €200m lower than 2014.

In 2014 Irish Water’s current operation cost €794m to run and make allowance for interest and depreciation; net of commercial income totalled c€230m leaving a domestic burden of c€564m.

There are 1.5m households in Ireland using services provided by Irish Water or an average cost to supply of some €376 per domestic household, it is estimated this fell by 7% to €350 per end 2015.

On population basis the cost per person is in the region of €122 per person in 2014 and predicted to reduce by a quarter by 2020, although prediction does not equate to actual.

Now for the hard bit. Northern Ireland is more complicated. Publicly available figures include both current and capital spending, which are not broken down in NI Water’s 2014/2015 annual report.

The Block Grant provides £270m per year to ensure that domestic water charges are not required.  Of this some £213m (€279m) or 79% relates to current expenditure and debt service cost.

The other £57m is not a valid comparison as capital expenditure and must be stripped out, giving us a current services figure of c£118 (€155) per capita.

Northern Ireland Water does not give specific breakdowns between the number of commercial and domestic customers in its 2014/15 report but it is noted that 15% relates to commercial revenues.

Total spending at NI Water in 2014/15 was £435m of which £65m was provided by businesses. A further 14% (or £61m) is borrowed  leaving £309m as domestic/road drainage cost. Of this, 79% is current expenditure relating to domestic supply or £244m (€320m).

NI Water serves 676,000 domestic households giving a current cost per household of £361 (€473). Somewhat confusingly they also give a provision cost of £411 per household. This would cover capital spend but they do not cross reference this figure to revenue or spending figures explicitly.

In itself this would also include provision of road drainage, ignoring road drainage and adopting a 79% current spend the cost per household would be £325 (€425).

Without detailed clarification from NI Water it is only fair to state that costs are in a range of £325-£361 per household (€425-€473). Alternatively cost can be considered on a per capita basis, indicating that the cost at NI Water is in the region of £118 – £136 (€155 – €178) per capita

Conclusion

One can consider that Irish Water is in decent shape after a 2 year period as a national utility with an average cost base of €376 per household versus €425-473 in Northern Ireland or a saving per household of 13% – 26%

Alternatively on a per capita basis the figure is €122 per person under Irish Water and £118 or €155 per capita at NIW or 27% higher.

Last week Sinn Fein described Irish Water as a toxic entity. If it is toxic then how would one describe Northern Ireland Water [which they are in large part responsible for] costs somewhere between 13% – 27% more depending on which metric you apply.

In my view, the most compelling arguments in favour of water charges in Ireland are twofold. Firstly not charging favours people like tax exiles and owners of holiday homes who effectively draw money out of the common pot for other essential services such as health and homeless services.  

The second argument and one reliant on metering is that polluter pays. If you are careful you will pay less.  But if you water an acre of lawns charging forces you to invest your money in your own asset, rather than sapping the less well off to fund a private luxury.

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  • murdockp

    My personal view is the math is irrelevent.

    SF believe that the state should own any organisation that provides a ‘public service’ and that these entities should be staffed to the maximum and that the pay should not be set by market forces, but by collective Union bargaining.

    Water just happens to be in the news, but all public services can be pulled into the mix.

    I have said before that there is absolutely nothing that can be done by anyone to shrink the public service in NI and all the publicly owned organisations, we are effectively a communist state in that the state owns all key infrastructure and the government we have will never be voted from power. Read Animal Farm and it may as well be about the NI assembly.

    A bloated public sector in full employment is however a necessary evil to deliver the votes that keep SF and DUP in power.

    Discussing how to make them more efficient is simply a waste of conversation, it will never happen.

    For example, Look at the new councils, they were meant to be super efficient, but most would agree it would be hard to find in the rest of Europe a more dysfunctional, spendthrift, inefficient group of organisations that these new bodies created by Stormont are.

    As ever as long as the ratepayer keeps on paying, who cares.

  • mickfealty

    There are other routes forward which don’t entail privatisation. The Welsh model is a mutual, the Scottish model a hybrid. There’s no sound argument for handing over a public monopoly to a private equity fund who’s main responsibility is to sweat that monopoly for cash.

    And since there’s no market in water the usual failsafe of market capitalism (competition) doesn’t exist.

    In the meantime, the point is that NI Water seems to cost more than Irish Water to run. Unless our guest writer has got something wrong here that appears to be a real thing.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Maths is never irrelevant, though I would like to see a chemistry comparison on water quality.

  • Neil

    Populist watch Ireland defends Irish Water, attacks Sinn Fein, defends metering/siteserv. Tune in next week when the DUP will explain how they’re not the world’s biggest fans of the idea of Irish unification.

    Any chance of a few links to look at your figures, or should we just take your word for it?

  • murdockp

    I agree of course other ownership structures work, but in the rest of the UK there are KPI’s and other measures in place to ensure organisations are reasonably efficient. For example I think that Network Rail and Transport for London and the DAA are pretty good at what they do. Manchester City Council is a slick as any private sector organisation out there, if only NI had one council of this calibre.
    The point I make is all about the intertwining of politics and state owned organisations. In NI they have become politicised and I would support them if the Directors and senior managers were competent persons with proven industry backgrounds, but they are not.
    When you have competent leadership and management in place underpinned by strong cash flow, any organisation can then borrow large amounts of cash from the markets to invest the billions state infrastructure needs.
    For me, NI water fails on nearly ever metric do to political fudging, the major frost years ago showed everyone in how poor it shape it is, its infrastructure is literally crumbling and the investment it needs to make it fit for purpose just is not there, it literally is billions of investment and these organisations are so dysfunctional the investment needed isn’t there either from either the state or the private sector.
    Metered water charging is a necessary evil as it will make NI water more accountable to paying customers and in turn teach the general public to conserve water.
    Reform is long over due.

  • Graham Parsons

    Economies of scale?

  • mickfealty

    Neil, you do know we have a rule about playing the ball and not the man? I’ll ask him to provide some links when he gets here. In the meantime, behave!

  • mickfealty

    The regulator is an Heath Robinson contraption of the Thatcher era. In the case of water companies in England it is certainly not fit for purpose: http://goo.gl/UOm3g.

  • Greenflag 2

    People need to conserve and not waste water . The only way this can happen is if people have to pay for it -making allowance for reasonable usage per person . When you have lived in a land with no surface water most of the year you appreciate the cost of bringing it to a tap from a reservoir hundreds of miles away !

    SF must be short of a political tack to hang their moniker on this issue although in NI I guess anything will do 🙁

  • Greenflag 2

    ‘ you can’t govern a country without money ‘

    Oh yes you can -other people’s money – problem being they’ll demand payback and bring in the heavies such as the IMF and the other thugs who run the world’s financial system for their own advantage . A country like Ireland has little choice . Now Norway another ‘small country ‘ manages to produce enough power for it’s needs using resources that are sustainable (98% ) mostly hydroelectric . We still burn oil 🙁

    Good post

  • Greenflag 2

    If every ratepayer were to go on strike i.e refuse to pay up would the authorities not get their act together ? I guess it would end in Catholic water v Protestant water as usual 🙁

  • Greenflag 2

    If Irish Water is toxic then Northern Ireland water in two words must be Uber toxic in this case no?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Water power, Greenflag, certainly would do it. After all, what resource do we have in abundance all over Ireland, and as a controllable flow (using small local dams, as Linen Mills used to), so back to the eighteenth century might just be the way forward…………..

    And you can even drink it later!

  • Greenflag 2

    Wave power from the ocean in particular the west coast although the technology for it is not yet proven . I read something recently about a project in the west of Scotland which was experimenting with harnessing wave power to produce sufficient power for remote communities while also supplying any excess to the national grid .

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It’s extraordinary just how the old centralised system endures against local generation of electrical power! I suppose if they can generate their own power (in the other sense too) they just might start ignoring Westminster……..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    We should stop using the stuff until they come to their senses……(couldn’t resist it!)

    But Yeah, “Catholic water v Protestant water as usual”…………..

  • Ciarán

    Isn’t Populist Watch Ireland just a front for the Labour Party? From some articles I’ve read about them it would seem to be that way, their list of twitter followers is like a Who’s Who of Labour members.
    Labour are entitled to make their arguments like anyone else here but wouldn’t a Soapbox piece openly declaring this affiliation be more appropriate for this? Sophie Long recently got slated for not declaring her interests/background and the same should apply here.

  • Greenflag 2

    Its not a bleak or pessimistic view it’s just common sense . I’ve seen it in several countries .When people have to pay for water they tend not to waste it . Same with food -Give out free food and the rubbish bins will be full of waste . Seriously . It’s human nature . Yes about 10% of the population or natural skinflints like me won’t waste anything if I can help it and recycle where I can -but a lot of folks will go to the bathroom and leave the tap running in the kitchen or they’ll spend 20 minutes in a shower when 5 or 10 would do . Gotta be practical . Waste not -Want not and all that !!

  • Ulick

    “Last week Sinn Fein described Irish Water as a toxic entity. If it is toxic then how would one describe Northern Ireland Water [which they are in large part responsible for] costs somewhere between 13% – 27% more depending on which metric you apply.”
    Aldi orange juice in the south is 25% cheaper than Lidl but like the tap water in much if the 26 counties it’s also undrinkable, toxic if you like. In his eagerness to get the digs in at SF, PWI (love your Twitter trolling btw) makes the same mistake as many Free Staters by concentrating on a headline figure while avoiding the question of what that figure buys. In comparison to the sludge pouring from southern taps, the nordie product is as pure as an artic glacier. So really then many people are expected to pay Irish Water for something they cannot use.

  • Greenflag 2

    9 billion people can’t live as hunter gatherers and the notion that pre civilised peoples lived lives of peaceful bounty in communion with nature – mother earth is mostly mythology -modern man’s yearning for a time past when all was right with the world . It never was and never will be . Nothing is free . Next time you visit a dentist or doctor or have your plumbing leaks repaired be grateful for civilisation .

    Of course if we somehow could reduce the world’s population to 2 million free water could become available . The only problem is that the only way the world’s population will ever reach 2 million again is after world nuclear war and the water would probably be undrinkable anyway .

    Neither Rousseau nor Hobbes got their human nature theories quite right -But in retrospect and considering the history of the last century and the several before it going back to Rousseau – Hobbes was a lot closer to the reality for the world’s billions certainly up to modern times.

  • hugh mccloy

    One just has to look at NI waters annual accounts to see its costing a fortune on top of the rates we pay. Nothing is free you have just not paid for it yet, or for your water in NI you pay for it twice, once through taxes again through rates, you might even add a third payment but that will be debts left behind for our children

  • hugh mccloy

    I would say its close enough, most wont look at the accounts to try and prove the article wrong

  • Neil

    If any evidence or working was provided for the figures involved they would have been looked at by now, maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not. I’ve seen populist watch Ireland’s output on Twitter, so I’ll not be believing a word of what’s written above without a scintilla of evidence.

  • Robin Keogh

    It is important to remember that for many people the imposition of water charges was the last straw that broke the camels back. When the troika visited Ireland they told the government that they didnt really care how the numbers added up as long as they did. So effectively the government made choices based on their own particular view of what was the best course to take in order to clean up the mess. However there is no escaping the fact that those choices disproportionately disadvananged the less well off. That is not a left wing populist pronouncement, it is a demonstrable fact. Water charges came after a string of measures such as cuts in public services, introduction of property taxes, cuts to homehelp and disability allowances, massive unemployments, a surge in emigration… the list goes on. Maybe, if a fairer better organised water charge was introduced at a time of prosperity it wouldnt of had the effect it did. In terms of turn out at demonstrations i would read nothing into. Its still a big issue at the doorsteps. And this day four weeks from now those people will have their say.

  • Jollyraj

    “Free Staters”. What’s that?

  • Jollyraj

    To be fair, I think it is also a fairly accurate view.

  • Robin Keogh

    Refers to that portion of ireland which is free of British rule

  • Hugh Davison

    So, Robin, how many times a week do you flush your swimming pool? And why should I pay for it?

  • Hugh Davison

    I always tell water charge protesters that they’re perfectly free to take a bucket to the well. As long as they don’t take the wrong bucket.

  • Hugh Davison

    Holy water?

  • Neil

    What with metred bills being capped, people on benefits and low earners will be paying to ‘flush’ rich people’s swimming pools. At least where water is paid for by general taxation and rates, everyone pays according to what they have, people on benefits and low earners pay little or nothing.

  • Robin Keogh

    I dont have a swimming pool. Moreover, i have my own well on my land so i dont use treated water either.

  • Hugh Davison

    Consumable water is not an unlimited resource, despite the rain. Where is the incentive to conserve?

  • Hugh Davison

    So, it’s not your problem, really? People who live in conurbations (i.e. most of the population) need treated water. If I had the space, I’d certainly be tempted to invest in a fantasy waterwasting project. Unfortunately (fortunately for the rest of us) I only occupy 30 sq Metres of land in a terraced house in a town.

  • Neil

    Water shortages are as yet a long way off. Capped bills will limit the incentive to conserve for those who breach the cap (people with pools, and the such) but will disproportionately affect the less well off who won’t breach the cap, and who are most likely not wasteful of the water in their home as it is, as they likely don’t have huge gardens, pools or houses with 6 en suite bathrooms in them.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    My old church, from my London days, All Saints, Margaret Street, had a holy water stoup as you went in or out. Technically, Anglican “High Church” would still be classed as “reformed” so the issue of holy water is ambigious…………..

  • Ulick

    Apologies Jollyraj, I have answered your query twice but it seems this SluggerMod is a bit selective when it comes to supporting fair comment.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    Many in the 26 counties feel that water is one commodity that ought not to be taxed. Given the nepotism and corruption at DE they have a valid point. What next, a sand tax in Algeria?

  • Robin Keogh

    Its irrelevant. The revenue for maintaining water can gleaned from general taxation of which i am a contributor; well or no well. So it is my problem abd i dont mind my taxes being used if it alleviates the burden on those less well off.

  • Hugh Davison

    To me the only fair way to encourage conservation is a metered supply. This is how it works in every other European country that I have lived in.
    Populist agitation has scuppered this solution in Ireland, for the time being anyway.

  • mickfealty

    So it has been alleged on Twitter. And do you have ANY comment on the actual material?

  • mickfealty

    Water charges do two things. One they nudge people into minding consumption. And two, they provide hypothecated earnings to re-invest in crumbling infrastructure. Left to general taxation governments generally find more pressing things to spend it on (like tax breaks n sh!t)

    Water meters are the fairest way to do it. But I completely understand why that melts people’s heads when they think they’re already getting it for free. Hardest sell I suppose is that it *never* comes with a cut in rates.

  • mickfealty

    There’s been a lot of nasty rabbit punches in this thread. No idea if that’s what you were doing but I really wish people could deal with the political arguments rather than each other.

  • Ciarán

    So you know it was alleged and you didn’t feel the need to enquire before deciding to give them posting rights? Or maybe you did and they’ve denied it? Look at their Twitter feed, they only re-tweet Labour politicians and criticism is almost exclusively directed at SF… Either you and Slugger are being used or youse think we’re all idiots.

    On the argument presented, well it feels like a very convoluted way to excuse the shambles that is Irish Water. The numbers presented are very difficult to follow (tip to the bods at Labour, try using tables, easier to explain numbers that way) and frankly some referencing would be nice too because given the provenance of this story, I just don’t trust it.

  • Boglover

    One point missed in the comments if the extent to which both providers are handicapped by Ireland’s “dispersed rural population”, which means distribution costs are higher than elsewhere.

    Worth looking at the NI Utility Regulator’s figures for what they call “indicative costs” in their most recent PC15 determination;

    indicative bills for water and sewerage services for a small and large metered customer and an indicative unmetered non-domestic bill for water and sewerage services (2015/16) = £359
    the notional average household charge = £403
    (see http://www.uregni.gov.uk/uploads/publications/UR_PC15_FD_-_Final_Determination_-_Main_Report_0200_Redacted.pdf)
    According to OFWAT, the average domestic bill in England and Wales for 2015/16 will be £385, but this figure contains an element for roads drainage which in NI is levied directly against DRD.

  • chrisjones2

    Perhaps NI Water is still paying off the legal bills for SFs lost discrimination and defamation cases?

  • chrisjones2

    Not erroneous though

  • chrisjones2

    I agree. Time we went back to anarchy and cave dwelling

  • chrisjones2

    9 billion can live as hunter gatherers…just not for very long

  • chrisjones2

    …and we could restart sacrificing the odd virgin to the wind God to keep the windmill turning

  • chrisjones2

    What was the price? One’s soul?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Free, Chris, as all God’s gifts should naturally be, except that we have a few sly middlemen making a buck on things out in the world…….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Water turbines, Chris, read what I’m saying. the wind turbine scam needs a lot of subsidy to become commercial, but water…..

    So back to the future eighteenth century style…..

  • Jollyraj

    As opposed to Northern Ireland, which is……..? You know we have a devolved administration run by politicians elected by the people of NI, right? Granted, a majority of those are British people (whom have lived in what is now NI for centuries), and an even larger majority are largely pro the benefits of being part of the UK. Is that what you mean by ‘British rule’?

  • mickfealty

    Look, it has been alleged. And it was denied. Are we any further on? Do you have any reason to doubt the provenance of the story other than pointing at the author? If you do, please share it?

    If you are seriously trying to play the “Don’t listen to him, he’s a bollix!” card, you really should look up the commenting rules?

  • Ciarán

    I’m not questioning the bonafides of the story itself, as I mentioned that’s hard to do as presented.
    The question is more directed at your decision to allow this to be published in the manner it has. Perhaps this should be a death with outside of this thread so as not derail the discussion but it’s a legitimate question in itself. It would be naive to believe they aren’t affiliated with Labour. They spring up in the middle of an election campaign, they fawn over labour and criticise Labour’s biggest threat. You can’t seriously believe they aren’t. Anyway to think of this another way, if a republican would setup a group called Cronyism Watch Ireland that was highly sympathetic to Sinn Fein and mostly attacked Labour, would you give them the same platform on Slugger?

  • mickfealty

    Yes you were:

    “Given the provenance of this story, I just don’t trust it.”

  • Ciarán

    hmm thats fair. I’ll take that back. Any thoughts on the rest of the post?

  • mickfealty

    Other than yes, it would be improved by link backs, say to the annual report and such. Otherwise, for me, the OP does ring true.

    The thing that concerns me about the southern debate is that political opportunism is pushing the left into ridiculous and unsustainable positions on tax related issues so that they end up coming out on the extreme right in which nothing must be paid for.

    The issue facing water is twofold in the Republic. How to raise the massive capex needed to fix the current distribution system sustainably, and how to make sure the engineering deficits within the system do not recur.

    If the guy is Labour it suggests to me that the Labour party is further down the road of thinking this stuff through than many of their incessant critics (on the left and the right).

    As for NI Water, I cannot say I’ve been following it closely, but not deciding whether you’re meat or foul is very likely to have a knock on effect on costs and strategy going forward.

    Ironically in sacking from the Board four NEDs with strong industry and commercial experience, Conor Murphy and SF have killed the ability of any Minister to attract enough talent at the top to push NIW to cut costs and plan effectively for the longer term.

    It’s not a controversy at the moment because our media don’t tend to look at policy formation and performance in government unless there’s a controversy [externally] attached. After the Gormley case ran through (and the judgement against the Minister for discrimination), no one bothers with NIW unless the pipes freeze or Belfast floods.

    But if these figures check out, I would suggest there is cause for some concern that there are savings to be had that are being blocked for no good reason. If there is still lingering worries about privatisation, do the Welsh thing and make it responsible by giving it mutual status.

    NB, I don’t ask commenters to ID themselves to say who they are or who the might work for, so I really don’t have too much time for those sorts of demands from our bloggers either.

  • chrisjones2

    Why are you so afraid of them?

  • chrisjones2

    Lucky you that you dont have a fuel laundering plant nearby

  • Robin Keogh

    How do you know I don’t?

  • Ciarán

    Not sure where you’re picking up on fear about anything.

  • chrisjones2

    Well you will if you have the borehole tested

  • chrisjones2

    Ok so we sacrifice her to the water gods

    and note it must be a she

  • chrisjones2

    “SF believe that the state should own any organisation that provides a ‘public service'”

    So the state was right to employ all those touts in SF/ PIRA to stop its murderous activities then.

  • chrisjones2

    Nothing is ever free …except death

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah Chris, you must have missed the 1960s…..it’s all free, anything that’s worth having. It’s the other stuff that gets you in debt.

  • Robin Keogh

    Why bring my sexuality into it?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Not every time, have you encountered Pete Marsh at all Chris?:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindow_Man

    Mind you he may have been going over to tell Brigantia Taranis, Agrona and Camulus that Boudica needed a bit of help! Perhaps we’d be luckier with Belesima, etc with a simple libation of decent Guinness or a little Talisker!

  • Greenflag 2

    Indeed. Two weeks to clear the supermarket shelves and then about a month to devour each other until there ‘s 10 million left and a level of sustainable existence becomes possible and personal security becomes a very personal matter .

  • Ciarán

    The Populist Watch Ireland image on Twitter now includes a Labour logo.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/695035872106848256/DuD8rC-C.png

    There can be no doubt about the link now.

  • Johnny B

    I have worked in the water industry for ten years, in scotland, NI and the republic and I have a masters on the subject. Irish people have been fooled into believing that Irish water is bad. it is not, the above article is roughly correct in its figures (not sure about the northern Irish ones though) and the savings and employees rates are due to come down even further according to an ESRI report. People need to let the charges in, and focus on their real, legitimate concerns. 1) privatization- campaign your TD’s to have a referendum on the matter and put it in the constitution that the water belongs to Ireland and can never be privatised. 2) wage structure and bonus culture – Cap the top earners in the company (harder to do as there are already contracts in place) IW are always going to lose on this as they are a public body. 3) Fairness – increase the lower limit and charge more for wastage. People who waste more pay more. PROBLEM SOLVED.