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A Blog About Human Rights
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Human Rights in Ireland >>
When water is finally privatised we will thank our masters for it
Get used to it!!
I've had water on my mind for quite some time now. Recently I co-researched and co-authored an article on water that examined incoming water charges and incoming water privatisation: Tapped Out - Water Charges, By The Meter:- http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79249
But there's more to the story than sorting out ownership questions. Water is an essential ingredient for life to exist. Sceintists who speak about the possibilities of extraterrestrial life, reckon that to begin the search, one should first look for planets that have water on them, to pinpoint possible sites that might contain life. In fact sceintists researching data from the Hubble Telescope may have recently found one such planet:-
It strikes me as ironic that we recognise the importance of water, yet we act as if it were a mere commodity, to be done with as we will.
The people of Galway have had their water supply poisoned recently. There were weeks of screaming by the political folks - such as warnings to boil water before use. The blame game was played too. Eventually the probable source of contamination was located (no thanks to the authorities). The ramifications being that it may be six months before the water supply is considered safe for consumption. In the mean time, the powers that be in Galway have arranged a deal with a private company whereby the good citizens can buy one bottle of water and get one free. Tourists are to be included in this deal too. And a request has been sent to the government, to get together and decide on whether to supply social welfare recipients with vouchers, so that they might get their water for free. http://www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=11317 It needs pointing out that some families are paying €5 per day or more for their water. The good old, much publicised, polluter pays initiave has yet to be discussed or thought of. Oh, and don't let's mention the fact that in 2005, there were dire warnings that Galway was "very high risk" for contamination from the cryptosporidium parasite, not to mention that up to one in five water supplies in Ireland are at risk from this very same parasite:- http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/papers/arti...der=0
One should also note that Ireland is top of the charts, with regard to the European Water Framework Directive. Apparently we are ahead of everyone else with regard to implementing it:- http://www.rpsgroup.com/hsed/newsireland.asp?N=478&seci...&fl=1
Despite us supposedly being ahead of everyone else in implementing the directive, the EU is threatening to fine the Irish governemnt over the debacle in Galway. http://www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=11196 and http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/papers/arti...der=0
However, Galway is far from being the end of the story. In Limerick, the County Council have been given sixty days to clean up the contaminated water supply at Ballingarry which has been polluted by nitrates, or face the Courts. The EPA has told the Council to clean up after LCC issued a warning for pregnant women and children under two, not to drink water, as the nitrate level is above what is considered safe. They've been given the sixty days to clean up the supply despite the fact that they've not even identified the source of the contamination:-
Of course, LCC is well on the ball with regard to water metering. From next September, all of Limerick's pubs will be included amongst the roughly 2500 commercial premises that will have to pay €1.06 for every cubic metre that flows from their taps. They will also have to pay a yearly fee to cover the Council's costs. Laing O’Rourke, a private company has beaten all the other contenders and has been awarded a €3.2 million contract to install the meters. Laing O’Rourke have warned that water supplies might be discoloured for a short time after meters are installed:- http://constructireland.ie/news.php?artID=3943 It seems to me, that the pubs of Limerick will pass on the cost of their water directly to their customers - water charges and a form of privatisation by stealth.
Nobody could mention water and Limerick without mentioning the Bleach Lough scandal. This is where LCC were trying to force the residents of Pallaskenry and Kildimo to accept one of Ireland's most polluted rivers, the river Deel, as their water supply. In turn LCC intended to take the Springwater supply that these citizens have and give it to one of Ireland's biggest polluters, Alcan, in the Foynes Estuary: Bleach Lough Court Case: "Water is not a commercial product like any other, but rather, a heritage":- http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76583 and Bleach Lough Campaigners gone to Brussels:-
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/81213 (to mention but two). It seems as if LCC have finally gotten their evil way and have connected the dirty water to the supply.
Let's not forget the Good folks in Sligo. Water meters were being forced on them too, but they kicked up a stink about it and many's a public official tucked a mangey tail between their legs and ran for the hills. This dispute is ongoing and I pray that it becomes nationwide. Check out Jim O'Sullivan's excellent article on Indymedia: Water privatisation has begun, starting in Sligo:- http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79663
The story is similar all over the Green Isle. Poor quality water (I'm being generous), charges and privatisation on the way, and lots of officials, especially in the department of the environment practicing self congratulation on the great job their doing.
The funny thing about biological water contamination, is that it is mostly caused by viri. When this is contrasted with the fact that chlorine is added to our drinking water to remove biologicals, but is almost wholly a waste of money and effort with regard to killing or removing biologicals the size of viri, one might get the sneaking suspicion, that once water is fully privatised, we might thank our government for it. In Dublin alone, DCC spend €223,198 per anum on chlorine, in its various forms. God knows how much it costs to dump it into the water supply. It aint a healthy substance to ingest according to most experts who express an opinion.
Allow me to finish on a point about Galway. As has been pointed out already, it could take six months to sort out the water problem and it could take tens of millions of Euros. Not one official has said that chlorine will no longer be used as a biological contaminant remover. In other words, they'll clean the water but have made no immediate or long term plans to stop it all happening again. This is despite the fact, that biologicals can be effectively, cheaply and safely removed, as a recent innovation has shown:- http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/0702280822...2.htm