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Stanley calls for upgrading of water system instead of meter installation

31 January, 2012 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on environment, community & local government, Brian Stanley TD, called on the government today, “to redirect the €500m earmarked for water meters into upgrading our water system.”
Deputy Stanley raised the issue in the Dáil and the Taoiseach responded that the introduction of water rates were now a priority for the government.

Deputy Stanley said: “The Taoiseach has admitted this afternoon that water charges are now a priority for the government. Since December this government has rushed through legislation allowing household and septic tank charges to be imposed. Only last week we saw how government guillotined the debate on septic tanks charges. Now we know that water charges will be imposed sooner rather later.
Stanley explained; “Sinn Féin is opposed to the introduction of water charges. It is acknowledged that the installation of water meters will cost anything between €500m and €1.5 billion. This money would be better invested in upgrading our water system. Nearly 40% of water is lost through leaks. No amount of water charges will undo this damage. Money should be redirected towards tackling this problem rather than installing meters and charging people for the water they have already paid for in their taxes. Water metering fails to reduce water consumption. In England and Wales, where meters were installed 20 years ago, water consumption has been reduced by a near 10%. Yet water consumption could be reduced by 12% by simply introducing dual flushes in all toilets.
Stanley said: “Any legislation introduced by the government allowing for water charges will be opposed by Sinn Féin and by the communities we represent. The government is clearly out of touch if they think they can simply force yet another charge on households without major oppositions being mobilised.
In conclusion, Stanley urged the public, “to make their opinion known by participating in the consultation on the reform of the water sector and making submissions to the Department of Environment.”

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