Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Crisis? Water crisis? Shortages continue in Dublin.

Haven’t been at the blog in the past few days. Given the time of year, I imagine most people have better (or arguably, worse) things to be doing with their time than reading – or even writing – blogs.

As always in Ireland, however, something is bound to stir you out of your blissful state of peace and goodwill, such as it is. Water, or the lack thereof, is this post’s stimulus.

We ran out of the stuff, without warning, the day before yesterday. It was about One when we noticed a trickle from the taps that quickly reduced to nothing at all.  After a look at the Fingal County Council website, and no mention of water shortages in the area, a quick call was made to the emergency phone number.

Well, when I say quick, It took about half-an-hour to get a human, which was excusable enough for the day that was in it.  I had to work Stephen’s Day, so have some sympathy for those on a skeleton staff coping with increased workloads.  But what about the following?

“Hi there. I noticed our water disappeared about just over half-an-hour ago. I live in Clonsilla. Have you any idea when it might come back on?”

“Clonsilla? Is that near Baldoyle?”

“No. It’s out by Blanchardstown. Dublin 15."

“Oh. Have you checked your outside supply, that it is not frozen?”

“No. As there is a thaw, and we had no prior problems even when it was freezing, I assumed it was part of an overall problem with supply?"

“I will follow it up and get back to you. What’s your number?”

Needless to say, I heard nothing more, nor did I expect to.  But tell me this:  how could they not have known that one of the most highly populated areas in the country had no water?  All I wanted was a bit of honest info - to know the worst.  But it was like there was no problem at all, other than Mr Cranky of Clonsilla.

If you google “Fingal water shortage” you will see search results going back to 2006, so this is hardly a new problem.  You might think that Fingal County Council would at least be able to tell us, with some accuracy, when and where the water supplies will be shut off?

Then, at least, it would be possible to plan for the most basic of things.  Mind you, looking at today’s website, which seems to have more information up, I’m glad we’re not one of the poor sods in Naul, Walshestown, Ballyboghil, and Balrothery.  It has been advised that they will have no water at all until reservoir levels increase again. 

As well as empty reservoirs, it seems that numerous leaks are the, erm, source of the problem.  Apparently, large quantities of precious water are gushing into the underground soil before even making it to our taps.   Indeed, Dublin City Council estimates that 29% of its supply was lost through leakages in 2009, something it blames on the age of the supply system. 

Let us hope the local authorities clean up their acts before the introduction of water charges.

If we, as individuals, have a responsiblity to conserve resources, surely this extends to the suppliers as well?

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Lew said...

Your lucky, my parents live in Longford, one almost 70 and the other 77 and disabled and they have had no water at all for a week and a half, aparently half the town is the same
the council dont care, and havent done anything to help or even try and fix it.
All they said was its frozen it will come back when it thaws
They have had to melt the snow to get water although thankfully a friend out in the countryside who has a well is bringing them some when she can get there, its just not good enough.
They cant even light the range as they were told if they did it may explode the pipes where the water has gone (no idea if that is true or not) but they are sat with electric heaters on and a couple of blankets wrapped round them.
Annoyed is not the word to describe how I feel, The people in the council are pretty lucky I can't get over there for a while

The Gombeen Man said...

Bloody hell, Lew. That's really bad, and puts it into perspective for me here. Not good enough is right.

anna said...

Sure it's the ducking and diving, 'not my responsibility 'etc. Also as GM man says even with a history of water shortages- no-one will even take responsibility to see it Doesn't happen again. Also saying that there is huge seapages due to age of pipes: are these ones left over from the British? Another country would have continually running 5, 10, 15 yr plans to overhaul the pipe network ( here usefully, instead, adopts a new 20 yr plan for Irish language; Hmmmm - no tell me WHY that is useful? so you can get on the phone, and leave the same unanswered message over and over, 'Uisce, uisce, le do thoil!- as is your constitutional right?).
DOES anyone else wonder if certain parts of infrasturcture have hardly been been touched since British left- and are all about to crumble at once after 90 yrs? EG, certain Railway bridges, parts of water and sewage lines etc.
Incidentally NI- still under John Bull's tyranny- is ALSO is having Massive water supply probs this time; However local population is grumbling: local GPs saying shortages in certain parts are disgraceful
( have any Irish doctors said this about shortages in ROI?): local leisure centres are giving out bottled water- and Scotland is now sending a lot of bottles. So some people are taking responsibility.
And hopefully a few heads will roll when the water crisis is over in NI- and hopefully contigency plans put in place for next bad winter.
Incidentallt to Lew; Read Fintan O 'Toole, 'Enough is Enough', calls for many changes in Ireland- 1 very strong point was to give local counils more powers so they are more accountable to the people.

Ella said...

Lew, there's me feeling sorry for myself cos I couldn't shower, but I do have heat. Makes me sick when I think of the tax incentives the government has been giving to developers for years and now we are bailing them out, but we have a crumbling water system, where we are all suffering, ok admitedly some a lot more than others. The siser in law was on to himself earlier, apparently people are knocking on doors in the country saying they are there to fix the water and they rob you. That's the Irish entrepreneur for you. Agh...

anna said...

Ella an email came round my work saying some entrepreneurs were up to the same callous thefts in Finglas maybe.
AND yes you hit the nail on the head- always mysteriously LOADS a Money to give totally un needed tax breks to developers. When any other country would have been using those millions to upgrade water systems, make contigency plans for bad weather etc.
To Lew - sorry to hear of Lews' parents plight- at least the temp is now plus; rest assured the next election will see the bastards who starved our public services on their way out

Anon said...

All part and parcel of our Gombeen nation i.e a lack of foresight in everything. One would have thought that some lessons were learnt last winter but no, not in our supposedly modern first world country. I am becoming increasingly convinced that we are incapable of self-governance and should look at rejoining the UK ;-) or asking the EU to send in 'non-national' administrators. They certainly couldn't make things any worse. Happy New Year folks.

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes all. The reason we are having these problems is because the authorities have not upgraded the system, over time, as they should have.

It's not acceptable, in a supposedly developed country, that people should be without water for 10 days. As some have.

anna said...

Greed.Greed. Greed. At heart of 90%+ of what's wrong with the country: from crumbling schools,lack of road signs, 3rd world health system*,(* city of Dublin acquired just 1 new ambulance since the 1980's) potholes,unexamined Xrays, no money for Gardai to get after murdering criminal gangs ( only tonight I read THE 2 murdered at Tecso were INNOCENT victims of MISTAKEN IDENTITY); right through to current weather problems, not enough grit, gritters etc-to low water pressure due to leaks from ancient pipe systems : no wonder no-one is taking charge- in NI local councils opened leisure centres specially so bottled water could be handed out- and people given showers-here many areas don't Have leisure centres- and Dublin city council is trying to close 3 council swimming pools! Look how can you expect good public services- when this country is set up so a ruling rich class / politicians/ bankers/ law/ professions/ developers can cream off most of the wealth from the worker drones?
So with great joy I read that Bart Ahern WON'T be standing- that should help undecided FF'ers to also jump over board.I want to see them keel over like Dominos- even before election.
As NI native I am grateful to BArt for his work with peace process: but check out and see how Bart & Ray ( Burke) gave away Billions and Billions in potential oil royalties to Shell: Incredibly STS say on the site if we had all that royalties money now we wouln't be skint- we'd be like oil RICH Norway.
" No other country has been so helpful" said Shell- not even Nigeria!!.
A well rated Irish documentaty THe PIpe ( ABOUT THIS cORRIB PIPE LINE)opened in December, after great reviews in Toronto & London festivals. I must see that- it sounds like 'Fianna Fail- the snuff movie'
A generous man, Bart: gave away further billions by telling Catholic church to not bother compensating for abuse; heavens no! sure we have taxpayers to do that! Oh and recent news repoarts say of the miserly amount they were requited to pay ( in the early 00's!) they have coughed up about 10%- at time when the country is SINKING- GET THE CRIMINALS ASSETS BUREAU TO SEIZE THE WEALTH OF THE CHURCH I SAY..
I will be Fair...I'm sure our local and National politicians Want to treat vulnerable people having a water crisis well...but first they need to contibute a few bilions to an oil multi-national and Church with appalling reputations...

Anonymous said...

In relation to the water shortage, the website is not informative, eg, lack of water for sanitation, can cause serious illness.
We have no water in our attic tank for over 8 days, a tiny trickle from the mains, no water in the immersion tank, cannot put on the heating, because gas heats the immersion, on ringing the powers that be, was told water would be sent to our area at least 7 times in the last two days.
However nothing was sent out, and again, there is not one person in power speaking to us from the TV about this situation.
It was the same scenario with the problems with the economy.
I have noted that the Politicians were very informed and addressed the people in Northern Ireland, relating to their water shortage, why is there such a communication gap here?
I contacted the dept of the environment and they stated they were not managing the water, if that is correct, why then are they suggesting that we all should have water meters, and pay for water?
They are still using victorian pipes, on saying so, they were good, but will not withstand -10 temp.
These pipes should have been updated in the boom which flew over my head.
I feel really sad that those entrusted with positions of power cannot get it together, and see life from the point of view of most people, struggling, trying to pay bills that far outsway wages or benefit.
What a start to the New Year, wishing all readers joys of the season, be it water or wine!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Despairing
You are living in a Plutocracy and a Theocracy: a society that is organised for the benefit of the rich and controlled by the rich. The church are also rich and they control the plebs from the pulpit. As you know this has been the case since the origin of the state, politicians are not accountable.

Look at some of the TD’s you’ve got, who cannot utter one sensible word without reading it from a pre-prepared speech You can be sure the people in power are not distressed by the water shortage. Your local TD and Senator probably spent Christmas and New Year in a warmer climate.

Do not forget, it was you who put these people in power with your vote, so in a way the people are accountable also for this mess. However, come the election, the anarchic political system and political party loyalty will continue and nothing will change. In 50 years from now the family descendents of the present TD’s will be in power to lie and steal, with the acquiesce and support of the plebs and the proletariat.

You Poor Bastards

Anonymous said...

Have a look at what this gobshite has to say on the issue !

Anonymous said...

what should be done is our unemployed building workers should be made return to their "well build" housing estates, provided with repossed diggers by thr revenue commissioners and made fix the damage they caused for their dole payment

Miso said...

My hat is off to you for writing the blog that was in my heart and in my soul. Something is very, very rotten in the state of Ireland, full stop. The water is still off in Clonsilla. It is quite bizarre. Why are they trying to blame consumers for this alleged 'unprecedented demand on supply' - what, have we all started filling swimming pools or watering acres of decorative lawns? WTF is going on? How old are the pipes? How are they going to address this problem? If it has been going on since 2006, why has it not been done? And what about the old wells? Is it time to bring them back as we seem to warp back in time with alarming speed and agility? With regards school - I remember when I was 12, in 6th class, lessons were religion all afternoon, everything else squashed into the morning with a healthy amount of time given to anti-English history lessons which took as their focus the plantations, repression. Political history. Perhaps a bit much for the average pre-teen. What are we doing here though? Why are we putting up with it? And why are they getting away with this warnings through websites and teletext crap? What about the people whose remote controls don't work, whose batteries have run out, who can't afford a tv let alone a laptop or internet access? The elderly, confused, infirm? How are they to know? It took me by surprise. And I have been jonesing for a glass of water since 6pm. It still hasn't come back. They should work on repairing the pipes and pay a few teenage boys to do leaflet drops through letterboxes to alert people that they are switching off the supply. Oh, and give out bottled water. It's just ridiculous. Instead of buck passing, I want to hear an apology and a plan to stop this happening again. Well done on the blog.

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks Miso. Unfortunately, I know all too well about Clonsilla's water. If only the Irish would get as worked up about things that matter rather than the fabled 800 years. Its nearly like the "four legs good, two legs bad" chant from AF.

Dakota said...

At every level, roads, transport, services, etccc, is this country a mess. On the water issue, very, very strange how there is such a catastrophic lack of the blue gold. What kind of an individual would leave their water running 24, 7, to prevent burst pipes? There must have been a hell of a lot up to this(and I mean a gargantuan amount)! I can't ever remember this phenomenon in Ireland before. Some people I was talking to from the UK...well lets just say, they can't believe it!
All that tax (including stealth and levies) that was paid over the years, not to metion the revenue from the construction boom, where the hell did, and does that go? Nobody in the public sector is earning thatttt much.....Oh hold on there will be a few on the new threshold of 250,000.

On that paying over the odds thing, for bottled water (WHEN TAP WATER IS FREE) by the alleged cool and trendy class, well its time has come. NOW in a strange twist of faith, there is a logical and rational reason for it.
Truth is stranger than fiction - just think, if you told someone in 1984 that it would be COMMONPLACE to buy a bottle of water when it was free out of the tap. If they thought about it in depth, they would be petrified with fear. Just think what that same individual would say if you told him that the council would cut off water in the middle winter because their was - allegedly -a sizable amount of the population running their taps to prevent burst pipes. They would cry laughing, just before they would call the men in white coats. Society has become that ridiculous. We are now living through it.

Dakota said...

An addendum to the above: a simple way of preventing the water crisis, is FIX THE LEAKS CONSISTENTLY, in tandem with, a logical campaign of media updates directed at the public and business community. Telling people where and when, exactly, their water will be curtailed. THEN instead of forgetting about it again, find the other 43% to 50% and fix them as well. Then hey presto, no more water shortage and no need for a water levy. Oh, and educate people not to allegedly, leave their water running when there is no need.

Ben said...


Well put.