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Rally Against Water Charges

in N. Ireland
23 replies 2.4K views
2

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  • IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
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    Simpson wrote:
    Nice rant Ivan, but don't try to solve the worlds problems all at once. It takes until 2:00 am on a sunday morning after a family bar-b-que with the assistance of huge amounts of alcohol to do that.
    Just re-read it ... boy I must have been in a foul mood at the weekend ;);)
    The easiest solution seems to be metering. Perhaps a voluntary annual charge for metering for people who intend to take the advice offered in an attempt to reduce wastage. Or a levy to pay off the cost of the meter over ten years (it's not like were going to switch supplier after all), say £20.00 per year giving the estimated £200.00 cost that ministers are talking about.
    The obvious choice, it is the only fair way. I also think that most of the cost is in labour the meter itself is only a few quid - I did see a figure somewhere that said the cost of an installed meter in England was £120. Given economies of scale this should be lower.
    Alternatively you could introduce a credit scheme for households who adopt effective water management a regular inspection or audit could be set as a nominal charge for anyone who wishes to subscribe to this option (where the subscription would be refundable for successful applicants) and the score obtained would establish a percentage discount level of the set charge (as set by rateable value).
    A good idea but with some shortcomings. What would the criteria be? This could involve significant cost since there may be a major outcry to get the public housing stock updated so that they can get maximum discounts (and I can see a very strong line of argument for that). Also pensioners may not be able to afford any necessary modifications - although maybe age concern could help out.

    All new builds should be automatically fitted with meters and water conserving devices as standard - this should be happening now but probably isn't. When we had our house built (2000) I did fit dual flush toilets etc. at my own expense, and our washing machine was replaced with a conserving unit simply because I saw the day coming when we would be paying for water.
    As yet the water service have taken the see no evil, hear no evil approach to my suggestions (they acknowledge that they've recieved them but do not wish to be drawn into a discussion regarding them).
    Because they are not interested in discussion. I am of the opinion that their mind has been made up, they intend taking the lazy way out and only tolerate suggestions etc. simply to make people believe that they might be taken into consideration.

    I hate to say it but the only way may be for a campaign of civil disobedience. A while ago I did find a site that talked about people running hoses from their outside taps to the sewers in an attempt to lower the reservoirs and overload the sewers. Not quite sure that I agree with this but I can see their point - it is maybe the only way to get people to pay attention.

    As I said in my original post I accept that we are going to have to pay for water, all I ask is that it is charged fairly based on usage. Therefore in my opinion civil disobedience should be limited to paying the average cost of water within the rest of the UK and refusing to pay any more.

    Ivan
    Success is going from failure to failure without losing motivation
  • SimpsonSimpson Forumite
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    A good idea but with some shortcomings. What would the criteria be? This could involve significant cost since there may be a major outcry to get the public housing stock updated so that they can get maximum discounts (and I can see a very strong line of argument for that). Also pensioners may not be able to afford any necessary modifications - although maybe age concern could help out.
    Home Water Useage Audit
    Never said it was perfect, never even said it was good. Metering is the only fair way, but just offering an alternative to spark some knock on ideas.

    Still doesn't resolve the issues of historical lack of investment in the system.

    Also heard that what they call leakage isn't holes in the pipework or faulty joints. Apparently they have had a survey of their lines which shows upto 65% of treated water is gushing out of unmaintained valves in the network which is runing nowhere. Instead of maintaining the valves and closing them (the cost of which I'm told was included in the survey) or prioritising them for action based on volume of water wasted (also in the report) they just call it leakage so that we think the whole thing needs work.

    I don't think even running your hose down the sewer would have anything like the effect you think it would when you consider the scale of existing "leakage".
    Plenty of mistakes, but no regrets. :)
  • leftieMleftieM Forumite
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    A wonderful left wing argument that basically says 'I don't want to pay for it so somebody else can'. I believe in you pay for what you use (if you don't want to pay for it then don't use it).

    Sorry, it's a wonderful left wing argument that says 'without these basic services I will probably die in my 30s, I can't afford to pay the economic cost, perhaps those better off than me can help?' (or 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs').
    I'm glad I live in a country where we redistribute wealth to some degree so that people can be treated in hospital when they need to and have access to clean drinking water.
    Stercus accidit
  • IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
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    leftieM wrote:
    Sorry, it's a wonderful left wing argument that says 'without these basic services I will probably die in my 30s, I can't afford to pay the economic cost, perhaps those better off than me can help?' (or 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs').
    As from my previous post, it is a case of prioritising. If people can afford cigarettes, alchohol, tattoos and piercings then they will have absolutely no problem in affording water. If people are genuinely having problems, such as OAPs, then I have already stated that there is a case for some assistance.

    At the weekend I spent 20 minutes being forced to admire a tattoo that a friend of a friend of a friend had just got. OK, it looked quite nice (if you are into body mutiliation), he then told me that he had just spent £200 on it (jeez I thought those things only cost about £20). After that he then spent rest of the night complaining about all the problems he was having with the 'social' - not painting this, not fixing that - the bit that made me laugh out loud was when he said 'he did not see why he had to live in such a slum' (expletives removed). It was him, his girlfriend and their 4 children that turned it into a slum and rather than get up of his lazy a$$ and sort it (after all he had nothing better to do all day) he spent £200 on a tattoo and they were all out drinking for the night. Now why the hell would I even want to help them with his water rates.
    I'm glad I live in a country where we redistribute wealth to some degree so that people can be treated in hospital when they need to and have access to clean drinking water.
    I actually love this line of argument ... my wife doesn't work therefore she has no source of income therefore I should refuse to pay tax, national insurance, rates, vat and all the other crud so that I can redistribute some of my wealth to her....woo hoo ... If this works then I guess we might just go to Hawaii for an extended holiday later in the year.

    Ivan
    Success is going from failure to failure without losing motivation
  • SimpsonSimpson Forumite
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    Just bumping this one back up.

    It's still very relevant and people need to be made aware.

    If we don't force them to review their policies then they will continue down the path of least resistance. If we continue to harp on at them in sufficient numbers we might get them to realise hoe unfair their proposals are.

    C'mon only the squeeking gate gets the oil.
    Plenty of mistakes, but no regrets. :)
  • wotnoshoesehwotnoshoeseh Forumite
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    IvanOpinion is certainly well named.

    The one thing that I can say on this subject is that the proposed water rates are certainly raising the heckles of people within NI.

    People here are by and large tired of the arguments on the subject of the water rates. I agree that we probably should be prepared to pay for the usage of the water and for maintaining the water distribution systems and infrastructure within NI, but the problem with this is that most people, myself included, see themselves as having already been paying for this within the current rating system within NI.

    The fact of the matter appears to be that while the money was being gathered under the pretence of maintaining our water infrastructure that this has not been happening. Where the system falls down is that because the monies gathered for this purpose have not been allocated properly, the end customer (ratepayer) ends up having to pay an additional amount to correct this situation.
    In the meantime, what happens to the people originally tasked with keeping the infrastructure maintained???

    We should also be aware that, as part of this charge, we in NI will be paying for the supply of clean drinking water in NI. 80% of drinking water in NI is currently supplied from Lough Neagh. In February of this year the Environment Minister, Angela Smith has agreed to the siting of an asbestos storage and handling unit on lands on the Crosshill Road, bordering the shores of the Lough. There have already been a number of instances where soil samples and water samples have been tested and found to contain traces of asbestos.

    I oppose the introduction of the water rates for the reasons above, particularly the fact that the asbestos handling site is to be sited on lands bordering the major drinking water source in NI, but, unfortunately am resigned to the fact that we will have to pay these rates.

    The introduction of these rates is down to the inadequacy and wastage within the local government and civil service. Politicians and senior civil servants should be made to answer on this subject. :rolleyes:
    Cheers,
    wotnoshoeseh
  • IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
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    I think we are all therefore in agreement about the causes. The issue is do we spend several millions on various enquiries (that never get to the truth) or do we put that money towards mending the system that has been neglected.

    Ivan
    Success is going from failure to failure without losing motivation
  • wotnoshoesehwotnoshoeseh Forumite
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    Sorry, I don't want to hi-jack this thread re. the costs of the water rates being introduced, but I would like to make this point.

    Irrespective of the monetary cost of water rates to us, the taxpayers and ratepayers of NI, the true cost of the asbestos site will be with us for years and for generations. You will be forcing your children, and your childrens' children ad infinitum, to drink and bathe in water that may be exposed to asbestos minerals and fibres. The question we need to ask is "Who is responsible for this?".

    Guess what the answer is. "Angela Smith, the minister for the Environment"; and guess what other responsibility she has? Yes, she is also responsible for "Health Social Services and Public Safety".

    I wonder how she manages to reconcile these responsibilities with allowing an Asbestos Handling site on the shores of Lough Neagh. :mad: :mad:
    Cheers,
    wotnoshoeseh
  • D.A.D.A. Forumite
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    You will be forcing your children, and your childrens' children ad infinitum, to drink and bathe in water that may be exposed to asbestos minerals and fibres.

    Do you have ANY proof for that statement whatsoever? The asbestos will be in sealed containers. And, if I'm not mistaken, the Crosshill Road is miles away from the shores of Lough Neagh.

    Stop trying to whip up mass hysteria and provide some scientific proof to back up what you're saying.
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
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    I'm another one of those who is loathe to pay the water charges when we have supposedly been paying them for years in our rates but I realise they are coming and there probably isn't much I can do to stop them.

    My problem is as one of the "middle income" families who seem to pay for everything I want a meter. My 2 kids are now at university so there are only 2 of us in our house, which we have struggled to get over the years. It isn't huge but it's in Lisburn and the "perceived" (I love the usage of that word over here) value of it means we will be paying quite a lot in water charges. I think we are being punished for investing in our home and family rather than in cigarettes, booze and things like the "various piercings" IvanOpinion has stated.

    Now I know that there are others on less income than us who equally have struggled to acquire their home but I can't see why just because their home is worth less than mine I have to pay more for my water. Also why has a cap been set so that those with the most valuable properties pay just a little more than us. This proposed system is set to hit those in the middle hardest.

    What I want to know is why it is not illegal to base water charges on the value of a property in Northern Ireland like it is in England and Wales surely this is regional discrimination.
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