News Letters

Friday 30 September 2016

Irish Water saved me €2,000 a year by identifying leak

Published 07/10/2015 | 02:30

'We calculated we were losing 2,880 litres of water a day due to a leak (picture posed)
'We calculated we were losing 2,880 litres of water a day due to a leak (picture posed)

I am that person who turns off the tap when brushing my teeth, only runs the dishwasher when it is full, waters her garden with rainwater collected in our water butt and is very conscious about the water we use. I even put a bucket in my shower to collect water when waiting for the water to warm up and then pour it into our toilet cistern for reuse.

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Imagine my horror when we received a letter from Irish Water informing us that we had a high level of water use which indicated a possible leak. Here is my experience with Irish Water: I have to say, it was very professional and friendly.

After my phone call, an appointment was made a week later under the First Fix Free programme. The contractor inspected our property from meter to house and then looked inside. Unfortunately, I was informed that the leak was inside the house and it was our responsibility to repair it. He told me that we were losing between one and two litres of water per minute! Doing the calculations, that meant that we were losing 2,880 litres a day and over one million litres per year.

If we were charged for this, I estimate that even with the free allowance of 20,000 litres for our child (our other one is now an adult), we would owe over €2,000 for water we didn't even use!

I immediately called my plumber, who found the leak under the kitchen floor beneath the presses. After five hours of work and €170 later, our leak was fixed and it was money well spent.

While we can afford to pay the plumber to fix our leak, there are many people who can't and I urge Irish Water to investigate methods to ease the financial burden should a leak be discovered.

I suggest a credit on water bills to offset these repair bills as an option.

The installation of water meters not only educates users about how much they are using, but also identifies the thousands of leaks throughout the country.

Many of these leaks can be easily fixed, which will ease the burden on our already over-stretched water services system. I encourage all households that have received the same letter as I have to make efforts to repair leaks or running water tanks or leaking toilet cisterns.

What has Irish Water done for me? Through its metering programme, it has saved me the future cost of €2,000 per year.

Mindy O'Brien,

Coordinator, Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE)

Sutton, Dublin 13

Prioritise social housing

Rumours of a General Election in November are circulating in the media, with all political parties in a rush to set out their stalls outlining their policies and aspirations for Ireland's future.

But what are the aspirations of the voters of Ireland? That is the question which will be answered in the ballot box.

It is obvious that most working people want less taxes, and want back the money which was taken due to the austerity measures. But the lack of new builds to reduce the social housing lists of Local Councils nationwide has to be priority of the next government, whatever its make-up.

We all know it is wrong to have families living in hotels while empty buildings and houses are lying idle in all our cities. If the amount of money spent on the RAS and rent allowance schemes along with family income supplements (due to high rents and mortgage costs) was used to build social housing, the Government would have saved money in the long run.

While social housing charities have their part to play, they are not the answer. The social housing system we have had in Ireland since the 1930s has served this country well, giving young families a start in life without the burden of a mortgage and security of tenure.

Handing out millions to hotels etc. is literally money down the drain, it also puts children at risk in so many ways. It is easy to point to the scandals of the past and ignore the injustice perpetrated on vulnerable families in the present.

Nuala Nolan


It's not 1975, is it?

Colette Browne's very strong and relevant piece on the sellout of feminism (Irish Independent, October 6) should have earned my nod of endorsement.

However, I could only summon an ironic smile when the cover of the same paper mentioned irrelevantly and gratuitously (and in the same sentence, no less) both Amal Clooney and Cherie Blair as "wife of actor George Clooney" and "wife of the former British prime minister" respectively.

Beyond pathetic, people. Go back to 1975, thanks.

Martin Kelleher

Athlone, Co Westmeath

Undermining the Seanad

Prior to the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad, we had senators jumping up and down pleading to the electorate for the retention of that chamber.

In that debate it was generally acknowledged that the institution needed urgent reform but its abolition would be a retrograde step for democracy. In their fear of the electorate supporting the Taoiseach's proposed abolition, some senators put forward suggestions of Seanad reform.

The Irish electorate voted by a comfortable majority to retain the Seanad. In doing so, it's my belief that the people expected that reform would be enacted during the term of the current Seanad.

We are two years on from that referendum and it appears that senators have settled back into their comfort zone of reneging on any proposed reform of the institution. It feels like two fingers to the electorate once again.

Since the referendum, we had the John McNulty debacle, where the Taoiseach created an additional seat on the Cultural Panel.

Once more, I fear that the democratic process in that esteemed institution is about to be undermined. The vacancy on the Industrial and Commercial Panel brought about by Labour Senator Jimmy Harte's resignation necessitates a by-election for that seat. As we know, Mairia Cahill has been nominated and is still to be ratified by the Labour Party.

No other candidate has been nominated. It appears that political parties are treating the upcoming by-election as a 'Labour vacancy', implying an uncontested election of the Labour candidate.

To have a cosy little arrangement among political parties not to contest a by-election, but allow the seat to transfer to the party of the outgoing office holder is, in my view, a gross abuse of democracy.

Not only have politicians reneged on Seanad reform but in the only two seats to be filled since then, they are proceeding to make an absolute mockery of the institution.

John O'Callaghan

Rivervalley, Swords, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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