Last week, RTE carried an interesting discussion with Waterford’s City and County Council Chairman James Tobin regarding water quality in the beautiful heritage town of Lismore.
Echoing sentiments that have long been expressed by residents in Ferrybank for several years, Cllr Tobin said the water in Lismore has had a lime problem for far too long and that the supply ought to be of much greater quality.
The Fianna Fáil Chairperson, who is also a farmer, added that he had his own private supply and of course wouldn’t be paying water charges himself, but the point he raised is of equal relevance to the banks of both the Blackwater and the Suir.
The need for a water levy is, in our view, understandable, if such additional monies are fully utilised for the betterment of piping and sewerage upgrades.
However, as Chairman Tobin pointed out, even for residents in areas such as Lismore and Ferrybank, where lime has been a long-standing problem, will still have to pay the charge. In the event of a complaint being viewed as valid, a refund will be issued.
James Tobin believes there should be a better appeal system when householders have a valid claim about poor water. And let’s face it, we’ve heard of quite a few legitimate problems when it comes to public water supplies in recent weeks, months and, alas, years.
Boil notices are, sadly, not uncommon in Waterford – ask residents in Dunmore East where works on the locality’s water system are approaching completion, but within the past week alone, there was another notice issued.
Surely there ought to be a better system other than having to go to the expense of hiring a private sector engineer to establish the bona fides of a complaint? Why should residents have to fork out again, and to do so in many instances where residents have lived with suspect water for several years?
After all, we all now have to deal with a public monopoly – and in most instances, it’s clearly a case that, as it is in Vegas, the house always wins. And where’s the justice in that?
Each county should have at least three engineers, independent of the local authority when it comes to testing water – surely this is something which Universities and Institutes of Technology could play a role in?
For the record, Waterford City and County is currently served by 107 public water supplies, a tenth of all the Republic’s total public schemes.
Back-up water supplies have had to be availed of in the past, such as from Ballyscanlon near Tramore, while areas in the Carrick-on-Suir townlands, still awaiting the upgrade of the Burncourt-Fethard supply, have also had boil water notices this summer.
Brown water running from taps is still far too common in too many parishes across Waterford, Tipperary and Kilkenny, and one wonders why works similar to the multi-million Euro project for Waterford City weren’t initiated and completed during the Celtic Tiger years. W
ater, by the standards of the past two summers at the very least, is a scarce resource, and we’ve heard farmers and gardeners alike lamenting the lack of H2O.
Cllr Tobin’s comments on RTE were timely. One suspects this debate will continue for as long as the pipes we’re paying to maintain are leaking.