Water Charges: Ireland/Denmark No Comparison

Posted in: Global water resources, Water shortage
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Article courtesy of  | December 4, 2014 | Irish Examiner | Shared as educational material

Every day we hear politicians and journalists say that we don’t pay for water in Ireland.

Yet they conveniently forgot taxpayers in Ireland have been paying for water infrastructure for decades through the highest rates of road tax in the EU. Since this added tax burden was specifically established to fund local authority services including water infrastructure, where has this money been spent?

On The Week in Politics recently, Paul Cunningham, RTÉ’s European Correspondent attempted to compare the price of water in Ireland to Denmark. It is incomparable. In Denmark 100% of drinking water is sourced from groundwater, which requires the installation and maintenance of over 6,000 groundwater wells. Every year in Denmark new drinking water sources have to be found and existing wells decommissioned due to contamination of groundwater from pesticides, naturally occurring arsenic and saline water intrusion. In Ireland, drinking water is almost exclusively sourced from rivers and lakes, at a significantly smaller cost.

Road tax in Denmark costs €69 per year for a petrol car. This is 10 times less than what we pay. With over two million private vehicles on the road here the revenue from this tax is over €1 billion per year. This is the same amount that we are also told it costs to fund water infrastructure.

Declan Waugh

Member Institution of Water and Environmental Management.





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