New water charges to create 2,000 jobs
UP TO 2,000 jobs are to be created in a new semi-State company, it was confirmed today. Irish Water, which will manage domestic supplies, will rival the ESB for national importance, Environment Minister Phil Hogan said.
He promised as many as 2,000 jobs will be created as consumers have to pay up for water use at home. Nine out of 10 homes will be fitted with water meters by 2014.
In return for payment he promised a better and more reliable supply once the company is up and running.
Hogan (pictured) was speaking at the start of a six-week public consultation on the setting up of the new utility.
He described the move as “probably the biggest decision that has been made since the establishment of the ESB in 1926”.
“We need to have about €600m a year over the next 20 years invested in water and waste water to meet not only the requirements for jobs and for business but also we need it for to meet our water framework directive requirements in the EU,” he added.
“We've often taken water for granted. There's 40pc, in some counties, of water unaccounted for and industries like farming, chemicals and medical devices, IT and the food industry require good quality water for employment.”
Some 90pc of all households are expected to be metered by 2014 and water charges will not be imposed until then, the minister added.
When the whole operation it is up and running, Irish Water will take over the functions currently managed by the country's local authorities.
“We believe we will reduce the cost of delivery to households and businesses ultimately,” Mr Hogan said.
The rollout of water meters to homes across the country will create 2,000 jobs. When the installation programme is completed, continued capital investment of €600m a year in water services will ensure an ongoing number of jobs, Mr Hogan said.
The introduction of a universal domestic water metering programme is to start by the end of the year.
The installation scheme will take three years.
“We have a serious funding challenge at the moment. The introduction of a fair funding model for water services, which will include charges for households, will allow us maintain high levels of investment in water services,” Mr Hogan said.
As well as construction workers, openings will be created for engineers, quantity surveyors, technicians, plumbers and others.
Recently published export figures for Irish food and drink showed the value of sales abroad increased by 12pc to almost €9bn last year.