Our nascent film isn’t even made yet, and still it has become the victim of a vicious media attack today. The author of this attack writes that a “US documentary team claims Irish people pay 10 times more for water.” This claim is untrue. In our recent IndieGoGo campaign we wrote:
While Irish citizens have paid for their water through taxes, the Irish government have added new fees to their water usage. This is the equivalent of you buying a sandwich and the store clerk following you home to ask for ten times more than what you already paid. AND When Ireland’s government decided to ignore that families have already paid for their water through taxation and charged them twice for any water used, they unwittingly ignited a water revolution that has ricocheted around the country. This boils down to Irish citizens are being charged 10X more for water than the average American.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average cost for tap water in the U.S.A. in 2009 (most recent data available) was $2.00 per 1,000 gallons, or $0.0005 per litre of water. According to Irish Water’s website, the cost of metered water is €1.85 per 1,000 litres, or $0.00208 per litre of water, with an annual household cap of €260 for a maximum of 30,000 litres, or $0.0097 per litre of water. In short, the cost of water for Irish people is between 4 and 20 times the cost for their American counterparts, depending on their household size and usage. This doesn’t include the money Irish people are already paying for the water system in their general taxes.
Of course, the reality is that many Irish people aren’t paying these charges, and we don’t blame them: this increased cost would hit working and unemployed families hard. Attacking a filmmaker for noting this doesn’t make the situation any better for Irish people. We would appreciate a thorough debate on this issue, and that’s exactly what our film is aiming to spark!