herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Family left with a trickle of water for three months

OUTRAGE: Irish water refusing to fix leaks after meter works

Adriano Prete and his wife Lisa Gibbons Prete pictured filling containers with water to fill the attic tank at their Finglas home. The water pressure is so low it won't reach the attic tank
Adriano Prete and his wife Lisa Gibbons Prete pictured filling containers with water to fill the attic tank at their Finglas home. The water pressure is so low it won't reach the attic tank
Adriano Prete and his wife Lisa Gibbons Prete pictured with the flooded water meter and badly repaired surface at their Finglas home

This family have been managing with just "a trickle" of water in their home for three months and are forced to make daily trips to the attic to refill the tank.

Lisa Gibbons and her husband Adriano Prete claim that their water supply at their home in Finglas, Dublin has been reduced to an extremely low level due to a leak which emerged after Irish Water workers fixed a hole around the water meter.

The couple, who have two daughters, Leanne (18) and Sienna (5), have been rationing their water use since November, waiting for Irish Water to come and fix the leak outside.

The leak has meant that Mr Prete has had to make "seven or eight trips" into the attic per day, filling the tank with buckets of water so that they can use the shower.

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"I just kept getting fobbed off [by Irish Water] the whole time" Ms Gibbons said.

"This is ridiculous, it's just horrible. I'm at my wits end.

"My poor husband has to climb up into that attic just so we can use the water every day."

Since November, the family claim that "life has been pretty hard".

They that the problem only occurred inside their home when Irish Water workers filled in a hole around their recently installed water meter. The tarmacadam around the meter is filled in, but as Mr Prete showed the Herald, the hole is completely flooded underneath.

The work around the meter was branded "a terrible job" by Ms Gibbons, who believes that the work caused the leak which is now inside her home.

Mr Prete said that while he had no evidence as to whether the leak inside the home was connected to the external problem, the leak only occurred "two days after the workers finished their job" in November.

After making several calls to Irish Water, the couple were told that if the leak extended into the property, "it is a matter solely for the property owner" and not Irish Water to repair.

As of Friday, the family have finally been notified that Irish Water will repair the leak outside the property, but that the second internal leak would not be fixed by the company.

A spokeswoman for Irish Water said: "Irish Water has carried out a full leak investigation at this property, which identified two leaks. One of the leaks found is external, and Irish Water has offered to repair this leak. The second was internal, and unfortunately Irish Water is unable to assist the homeowner in repairing this."

The spokesperson also confirmed that following an investigation from the metering team, "the internal leak would not have been caused as a result of the works."

Local councillor Cathleen Carney described Irish Water's letter to the family stating that it would investigate the leak as "a weak promise".

"It means nothing to a family with two children who have had little or no water for the last three months" she said.

Irish Water explained that under the Water Services Act, "the responsibility for water wastage through leaks within the customers' property lies with the customer" and that a scheme was launched by the body to cover leaks outside.

The First Fix Scheme, which will be rolled out in the coming months, will cover leaks "between the boundary of the property and the dwelling, but will not include leaks internal to the dwelling.

hnews@herald.ie

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