Monday 16 September 2019

Sinead Ryan: 'Save water - or drown in the charges'

About 75pc of all water is used by 99.1pc of families, but the remaining 25pc is shockingly used/wasted by just 1pc of the population. Stock picture
About 75pc of all water is used by 99.1pc of families, but the remaining 25pc is shockingly used/wasted by just 1pc of the population. Stock picture
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

Are water charges being introduced by the back door? Probably.

It smacks of political cowardice if so, but this Government, no more than the last one, cannot seem to sell the message that paying for water is essential if we want it clean, filtered and fit for consumption.

If you don't acknowledge that fact, then by all means place a bucket in your back garden and collect and use it for free.

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We each use around 133 litres every day. Showers, toilets and washing machines are the main culprits and it's too late not to get our heads around that.

Yes, Irish Water's design, introduction and timing was a disaster. Its ongoing efforts to fix leaks in our ancient underground piping is going unnoticed and unappreciated. It's not enough, and it's not fast enough.

However, while claiming it's all their fault may be populist, it's disingenuous and not terribly grown-up either.

The optics in 2013 were terrible but if it had been refuse charges, USC or property tax that had come last in a long list of extra taxes in the aftermath of the bank bailout, then that would have become the straw that broke the taxpayer's back. It just happened to be water.

About 75pc of all water is used by 99.1pc of families, but the remaining 25pc is shockingly used/wasted by just 1pc of the population.

Much of that disproportionate weighting is leak-related and is being fixed.

But we simply can't sit around filling our baths and paddling pools while we wait on the company to get on with it.

The taxpayer is paying one way or the other; the only question is whether it's through direct, or indirect means. It may be perceived as 'too soon' to go back on the uisce merry-go-round again, but billing those who ignore advice, have had their leaks fixed and simply don't care, is imperative.

Excess use charges won't be introduced until 2021 and will be for those routinely wasting over 146 litres a day. Plenty of time to get submerged in the change or drowned in the bill.

Robot could be final chapter in old fold story

I was dispatched some years ago to cover the opening of the new Hollister store in Dundrum town centre.

After picking my way in the darkness through the shop, regretting the previous night's glass of wine given the ear-splitting thump-thump beat of something approaching music, it was clear I wasn't the key demographic.

However, there was a sight which gave my mammy-heart a little boost; beautifully groomed teenage shop assistants were folding … FOLDING beautifully … T-shirts all over the place.

Perfect, precise, folding. It really was a joy, compounded only by my nasty streak ruffling them on the display stand just to watch them do it, over and over. Do they do this at home, or still prefer the floor wardrobe?

Now a 12-year-old Nigerian girl has invented a folding robot which takes three seconds.

Fathia Abdullahi is a young coder and would prefer to spend her time doing that rather than tackling the household laundry. Needs must, etc.

Lay it on thick to sell spuds to millennials

Bord Bia is running a campaign to get us to buy more potatoes.

Given 97pc of households already do so every week, it seems a misguided marketing spend, but they're worried about the millennials (aren't we all?).

The young wans prefer pasta, couscous or rice as their carb of choice and the humble spud apparently isn't Instagrammable enough for the flighty snowflakes who are worried about their culinary image.

More likely it's that to make them really tasty it invariably involves a pound of butter, so teaming up with Kerrygold might be more successful.

Irish Independent

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