NI Water company won’t drink its own water…

NORTHERN Ireland Water can’t have much confidence in its own product, but if it does, then it has wasted £12,000 of your money on bottled water for its meetings. A tad embarrassing – and surely bottled water has to be one of the biggest rip-offs ever concocted by marketing men?

  • wild turkey

    In economic textbooks its called x-ineffciency. It is also known as management looking after,uh,management (unless of course the consumption of bottled water is driven by the people who do the digging, fixing, admin,etc.)

    Can we expect a self-righteous press release from Norn Ireland Water justifying this? Possibly. Although I doubt if it would cite W C Fields reason for not drinking water.

    But then again the whole water scam here is predicated on the assumption that people are, but cannot spell, Evian backwards.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    I don’t buy bottled water on the principle that it’s a bizarre rip-off. I’d much rather filter tapwater.

  • Turgon

    wild turkey,
    That is great about evian. I had never noticed it before.

    Fair enough re filtering but is it even necessary in most of Northern Ireland? When we lived in the South of England we did as unfiltered the hard water made tea taste horrible. Here most places have pretty soft water do they not?

  • DC

    Have to say I like sparkling water, where does that leave me?

  • Comrade Stalin

    “evian” is definitely the best anagram.

  • Animus

    Bottled water is such a scam – check out this story which just shows the lengths people will go to in order to be ripped off by spending ridiculous amounts of money on so-called ‘premium’ water.

  • nineteensixtyseven


    You are right about NI having mostly soft water but in the town in which I live there is a horrible aftertaste to the water as if it has been overtreated or something. I find that the filter jug makes it taste nicer. It could be now that I am so used to it being filtered I am very sensitive to the taste of the local tapwater.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Filtering, around here at least, noticeably improves the taste of tea. Fresh coffee is much, much better as well.

    The water here may be very soft, but there’s still definitely lime in it, and limescale builds up in kettles and showerheads after a while.

  • Rory

    Whether bottled, taken direct from the mains (filtered or not) or taken from a well or spring, I find that all water is best safeguarded by being diluted in five parts whiskey. It tastes better too as a result.

  • Tapwater here is amazing, at least if you’ve lived in London for a while.

  • Rory – Brandy is also an excellent purifier for water!

  • Rory

    You may not care for London tapwater, Sammy, but I wouldn’t dismiss it so readily. According to a recent report I read six of the metropolis’s leading oenophiles, in a blind tasting, choose the very same tapwater as being the most superior among competition from a range of expensive bottled waters.

    Mind you, given the water charges, so it bloody well ought to be one might reasonably argue.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    I suppose there was always going to be a downside to the peace process and the fact it is worth
    arguing over the fizziness of water is just that.

  • Rory

    There are sillier things to gab on pretentiously about than the “fizziness of water” – assuming insight into the forthcoming US presidential selection process for one.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    That one did not do it for me either. Am reading a book on history of the Mafia (Cosa Nostra) – mainly based in Sciliy (an island strangely enough sorrounded by the non fizzy variety of water ) and it is interesting the differences and similarities with paramilitaries in Ireland.

    What says you Rory on that observation, which only has a very diluted link to Non Iron waters.

  • Harry Flashman

    Water in Derry, straight from the tap, is lovely, fresh and cold, couldn’t beat it. I was once working in an office in Derry which installed a refrigerated water dispenser. I decided to blind test some work mates and ask them if they could tell the difference between tap water and the dispenser water. Poured them two glasses and they said “Hmm, definitely this one, much nicer, ooh yes this is from the dispenser, far better than the other one.” The two glasses both contained mains tap water.

    As regards water privatisation, as I recall this came as a result of an EU directive regarding the cleanliness of drinking water. As was usual the law of unintended consequences regarding Britain’s relationship with Europe kicked in. Britain and Ireland, unlike Europe, have potable water coming straight from the tap. The problem is we only drink a tiny proportion of this, something like 98% of this perfectly clean drinking water is used to wash ourselves, clothes, dishes, car, water the lawn and flush our toilets.

    When confronted with the costs of the EU directive, it was suggested that it would be cheaper for the government to supply bottles of Evian to all the families of the UK instead. Maggie chose to privatise the water suppliers and let the Stock Market finance it. You may regret the privatisation of water but that’s what you get when you blindly follow EU directives.

  • The Raven

    Having just come from a house in Knightsbridge, I cannot concur with your statement about Derry water, Harry…..

  • Jo

    I would invite comments from Londoners.

    Since 1997, every Christmas I have tasted London, or French water from the tap. It is tepid insipid and I felt I would pay for NIW’s product. Now, it appears, I will. And I think it good value. Lets watch out for our Assembly tagging our water rates to the E/W average.

  • Rory

    Sammy McNally etc…,

    Funnily enough just a few weeks ago I re-read Norman Lewis’s The Honoured Society a view of the Mafia which is based on his time as an intelligence officer in Sicily in 1944. The ownership and manipulation of water rights features throughout and Lewis (recently deceased) was one the finest ever writers in the English language. He has also written a number of other accounts of his time in Sicily and all bear clsoe attention.

  • Dewi

    “Am reading a book on history of the Mafia (Cosa Nostra) – mainly based in Sciliy (an island strangely enough sorrounded by the non fizzy variety of water ) and it is interesting the differences and similarities with paramilitaries in Ireland.”

    If that’s “Cosa Nostra” by John Dickie then the scale of slaughter a touch hifger in Sicily…..

    Welsh Water so good they drown our valleys for it.

  • Rory

    …or better still “close attention” (I should stick to drinking the water!).

  • Rory


    In the spirit of reasoned, enlightened debate prevalent on Slugger I would just like to add this:

    I bet MY Norman Lewis book on the Mafia is better than your old John Dickie book -nananana! nananana!

    And anyway, I bet my dad could beat up your dad!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    Dickie it is indeed – I have about 100 pages left and it has been a damn fine read.

    re. Water Privitisation comments ealier: Dwr Cymru puts paid to the idea that water companies in UK need to be privatised to raise money in order to meet european regulations as they are now back in public ownership.

    And to contine the water link the fact that the good people of Connacht has no proper drinking water for months has not impacted on their rugby playing as witnessed by the recent result against Lllanelli.


    I will get Lewis’s book. No mention in Dickie’s book (so far )about water rights.

    Having been bitten by the Sopranos bug I now find thw whole thing fascinating. Dont know if there are any good books that look at the mafia (cosa nostra and others) that examine the recent history of the New York and Jersey families. I am particulalry interested in how accurate the Sorpanos actually reflects reality on the ground.

  • hurdy gurdy man

    Heretical I know, but I much prefer the water in London.

    The water in NI (Belfast, at any rate) has a bitter, chemical aftertaste. The flavour of tea suffers particularly – though filtering does help.

  • Rory

    “The flavour of tea suffers…”, says hurdy gurdy man.

    “How, and my arse?”, says Mrs Doyle. Or if not she ought to.

    What is served as “tea” these days is little more than the sweepings of dust from a tea warehouse packed in chemically constructed bags through which hot water is supposed to be filtered. Except of course that it is not. It is simply poured on top and the manky little bag is given a swirl and then some twat pours milk into the whole miserable concoction.

    ‘Tis no bloody wonder I’ve taken to adding whiskey in my poor attempt to make the brew palatable. It just about does.

  • Dewi

    “Dont know if there are any good books that look at the mafia” Sammy You asked for it:

    Firstly A wonderful website

    Then Capeci’s “The complete idiot’s guide to the Mafia”
    Selwyn Raab “Five Families”
    “The Valachi Papers” Peter Maas
    Specifically on the Decavalcantes of New Jersey “Made Men” Greg B Smith
    ” Accardo the genuine Godfather” by the late Bill Roemer one of my favourites.
    “Gangbusters ” Volkman on the demise of the Luchese family
    “Mobster” Volkman and Cummings on Gotti and the Gambinos
    “Blood and Houur” Anastasia (a name to remember..) on the Philadelphia Mob
    A bunch on the Bonannos:
    “The Last Godfather – the rise and fall of Joey Massino” Crittle
    “Bound by Honour, a Mafioso’s story ” Bill Bonnano
    And by his Dad Joseph Bonanno “A Man of Honour” (The book that good Gulani motivated to wipe them out)
    On Boston “The Underboss – The Rise and Fall of a mafia family – O’Neil and Lehr
    Back to Chicago and Bill Roemer again – The Enforcer: Spilotro: The Chicago’s mob’s man over Las Vegas
    Lighter note Carl Sifakis with “Mobspeak – the dictionary of crime terms”
    “Murder Inc ” Martin Short good historic overview
    And one of my favourites – old but good “World Encyclopedia of Organized Crime” – JAy Robert Nash

    I’d start with Capeci and his great website – updated weekly.

    (Plenty more once you’ve got through those !!)
    And Rory – I hope you weren’t insulting my family’s honour…I know Joe Calzaghe !

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    will check these out – website looks really interesting. Just remembered there was sginifciant Welsh input into the Mafia development of Las Vegas.

    diolch yn fawr.

    p.s. I fear a Welsh massacre on Feb 2nd.

  • hurdy gurdy man


    I drink a Margaret’s Hope, 2nd flush Darjeeling (loose).

  • Rory


    What about Jimmy Breslin’s The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight? Which, come to think of it, could well serve as the title of a history of the Loyalist murder gangs – they kept missing their intended IRA targets and hitting innocent Catholics by…er…mistake.

  • The Raven

    Errrr…where’d the bottled water topic go…??

    Down, it would appear, the drain…

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    A mate of mine used to work in a water testing station somewhere up Oldpark direction – she was trained to taste water samples and grade them according to several categories, but they were specifically told not to test for the post-treatment chloriney taste. No idea why, but I suspect it was the good old reasoning of “don’t performance test something you know you will fail if you measure it”. Seems the further away from the treatment works the tap is, the better (or at least the less chloriney) the water tastes.

    As for the comparative merits of London/SE water vs NI water, in my experience they’re similarly treated and not that different in flavour, but it’s in the nature of London water to be much harder, with the results of limescale obvious to anyone who’s ever lived here, i.e. clean your kettle at least once a week unless you like tea with big chalky lumps in it (BTW, boiling the kettle with vinegar covering the element and topped up half way with water works as well as anything else)

    I used to filter water, but not for taste reasons. The flat I lived in when I first moved over here had the remnants of lead piping finished off with more recent copper fittings for the last two feet before the kitchen sink – thought it might be an idea to at least try getting rid of some of that before drinking it…

  • Greenflick

    £12,000 over what period? If it’s a year, that’s bad going – if it’s over a few years I wouldn’t get too annoyed about it.

    What might be more interesting would be figures for how much water is bought for our political leaders up in Stormont and elsewhere. How much bottled water has been bought over the last year by the various Departments, Committees, etc?

  • Briso

    Harry: Water in Derry, straight from the tap, is lovely, fresh and cold, couldn’t beat it.