Tuesday 18 December 2018

Irish Water needs 'full control of operations' to cut costs

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Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Irish Water will be unable to deliver significant cost savings and improvements to the network unless it takes complete control of operations away from councils.

The utility has told the Dáil Housing Committee that "multiple and varied ways of working" were leading to service failures and issues with water quality, plants with capacity were failing to meet standards because they were poorly operated, and there was "inconsistent" customer service.

It said that €13bn would be needed across a number of investment cycles to bring the system up to standard. Only by moving to a single public utility would savings of €70m a year be generated, and more efficient work practices introduced, chief executive of Irish Water's parent company Ervia, Mike Quinn, said.

"We incur substantial costs in fragmented management and workforce structures across 32 organisations which can result in delays and operational complexity, with no clear accountability," he said.

"One single public utility, made up of both Irish Water and local authority staff working together in one fully integrated organisation…is the optimum way forward."

The company says there are 5,000 people employed in water services, with 4,300 full-time positions.

Irish Water has 800 staff, and some 3,500 full-time posts are in local authorities, where staff manage day-to-day operations and provide administrative support.

Irish Independent

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