Water shortages highlight need for charges

President of Athlone Chamber, Michael O’Brien, has called for the immediate introduction of domestic water charges.

The newly elected president said this week that the serious water curtailments experienced in recent weeks by businesses in Athlone underscore the need for greater urgency on moves to introduce domestic water charges, in order to fund ongoing investments in water supply and encourage all consumers to conserve water.

He added that businesses which have been affected by supply cuts should be compensated.

“One of the major reasons why we are once again experiencing water shortages this year is years of underinvestment in the water treatment and water supply infrastructure, coupled with a lack of appreciation on the part of many non-commercial users as to the importance of this resource,” said Mr O’Brien.

“While significant water infrastructure investment programmes are under way at present in Athlone, their impact will be significantly enhanced by a rapid move towards the introduction of user charges on a sliding scale based on consumption. This would give the local authority, the water providers, a much more predictable source of income to fund future infrastructure investments and all water consumers would become much more mindful of water usage patterns.

“Finally, those businesses that have been directly affected by water cuts should be reimbursed by the local authorities for the loss of this service,” he concluded.

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