Government must take the lead on water conservation – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Water Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the Government to take the lead on water conservation by developing a cross-departmental and multi-agency strategy.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“There is awareness out there that water is a scare resource and a Government-led strategy must be developed to encourage water conservation. Any water conservation strategy must be well resourced and should focus on a number of different strands. It should have an emphasis on education and awareness, the proactive retrofitting of public and private buildings, and stronger building standards and regulations for all new residential and commercial builds.
“Sinn Féin has outlined to the Oireachtas Committee on Water a number of specific proposals. An education and awareness campaign for schools should be rolled out. The campaign would be led by the Environmental Protection Agency with support from the Public Water Forum, the Department of Education, and the water utility. The objectives of the campaign would be to promote better water conservation and public understanding of the scarcity of the resource.
“A pro-active retrofitting programme for all social housing and all public buildings must be initiated. The aim of this programme would be to deliver a high level of water conservation technology to facilitate more efficient use of water. A suite of incentives for private home owners and business including grants and tax incentives could encourage the retrofitting of private properties.
“The existing building standards and regulations should be amended to ensure that all new public and private residential and commercial buildings include measures to facilitate the same high level of water conservation technology to provide for a more efficient use of water.
“Let us not forget that 47% of our water is wasted due to leaky pipes in the public water system. The government must provide for an increase in its capital investment programme to urgently upgrade our water and sanitation system. Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget for 2017 allocated an additional spend of €200m to fix our crumbling infrastructure.
“If Government is serious about water conservation it will put in place an ambitious and pro-active cross departmental and multi-agency strategy to ensure that all steps are taken to conserve water.”