Installing water meters in homes has “little to do with conservation and everything to do with privatisation,” a Galway protest group has warned the public this week.
The Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes says the Government’s plan to install the meters, through Irish Water, is also “a further step in tightening the noose of austerity around the necks” of the public.
Conor Burke, spokesperson for CAHWT Galway, says water taxes are objectionable as citizens “already pay through their central taxes for our current water services”. He said this amounts to double taxation or the diversion of already existing taxes to pay off bank debts.
He also says the plans to introduce domestic water metering into the current system will produce more waste than conservation.
Mr Burke cites the British Environment Agency’s International Comparisons of Domestic Per Capita Consumption document 2008, which said domestic water meters save 7.5 per cent of water used.
According to Mr Burke, domestic users account for 16 per cent of total water usage in Ireland. The €539 million spend on domestic water meters will account for a saving of one per cent of total in a transmission system that currently leaks 40 per cent.
Mr Burke, who will also stand as a candidate in Galway city for the 2014 Local Elections, says that nationally, between 2007 and 2009 only €280 million has been spent fixing leaks so clearly there is another agenda besides conservation.
CAHWT Galway supports the development of a clean safe and sustainable public water service, paid for through progressive central taxation.
“Everyone is aware what a precious resource water is and the conservation and maintenance of our water services is a primary concern for all citizens,” Mr Burke said. “However, the Government and Irish Water’s intention is not focused in this regard. This is another attempt to wrench every last penny out of ordinary people.”