There is currently a debate taking place in Ireland about the introduction of water charges (“debate” is an old Irish word meaning yelling insults at the other side without recourse to facts, statistics or evidence). There are those who believe that charging for water will encourage conservation, while others ask why, in one of the dreariest, wettest countries in Europe, we should pay for something that you can find literally lying on the street.
The government have not helped by telling us (all in the space of a week) (a) that we will have to pay for the meter, though not for its installation; (b) that we will have to pay for both the meter and the installation; (c) that the charge for the meter will be €40 per year for 20 years, which is about eight times the cost of an actual meter; (d) that they have no idea how much the charges for the actual water will be, and are refusing even to make an estimate; and (e) that we’re to shut up asking questions, we’re starting to get on their nerves.
It is believed that each household will have a certain free allowance based upon the size of the dwelling (not sure how that’s relevant, unless we plan to flood all of our rooms once a year) and the number of occupants therein.
By this stage this is starting to look a bit like a serious, grown-up blog, so I would like raise a few serious, grown-up points.
There are presently five people living in the Tinhouse, so presumably at the beginning of the year we will get an allowance for these five people. What happens when Tinson1, as he is determined to do as soon as he graduates, leaves the country? Do we have to report this fact to the Water Police (motto: “To Serve You Shower”) or do we get to gleefully use the rest of the yearly allowance by standing under a garden hose and pretending that we’re Gene Kelly standing under the broken gutter?
Or perhaps we could sell our excess to other, less fortunate people, say a young couple who have a baby on January 2nd, just too late to qualify for the additional ration.
Mention of babies raises another point which doesn’t seem to have been considered – the age of each occupant. A new-born baby, for instance, needs a huge amount of water.
First of all, as I recall there always has to be a supply of cooled-boiled-water, though I have to admit that I can’t remember why.
A new-born has to be bathed every day. At least five babygros per day will go into the washing machine, along with the astonishing number of articles of his parents’ clothing that he has managed to cover in baby-sick.
Yet by the time the same child is three he will need almost no water at all, as he will drink only Sunny Delight and will be washed by spittle applied via his mother’s handkerchief. A bowlful of water each week for his pet goldfish (and the occasional toilet-flush as each one is literally buried at sea) will be all that is required.
I offer these insights to the government, but to be quite honest I don’t think they’ll listen, so I’m just going to wash my hands of them.
If I can afford it.