In 2021 I wrote about the crisis we were having with water in N Ireland. To put it bluntly, our waterboard has left a lot of things undone, and on reading a current article by Sandra Laville which stated that our Ministers were warned over 20 years ago on how private equity would affect the water industry and ultimately our safety and well being (The Guardian 20 May 2023). Basically, privatisation would lead to (as it normally does with private companies), the concentration on those areas which made money, and then left to the side those areas which didn’t but are necessary for the well-being of the population, i.e. sewage treatment, water pipe replacement etc. According to figures released, which Sandra reported on, our rivers in the GB receive 11bn litres of raw sewage from 30 water treatment works in a year, and in 2021 the Guardian reported that 7m tonnes of raw sewage were discharged into Northern Irish rivers a year, NI Water said at the time, that these overflows were required to reduce the risk of sewage escaping from sewers and causing the flooding of homes, schools and businesses…
The difference between Great Britain and N Ireland is N Ireland’s water is controlled by the state (so far), and in Great Britain, it is privatised. The privatised water companies are led by profit as I have already stated, whilst a state-owned enterprise should be led by safety. It is not to say money isn’t a consideration, but it is to say that the planning should be different.
2023 Richard Seymour wrote in ‘A Short History of Privatisation in the UK’ … The emerging doctrine was that privatisation would make the large utilities more efficient and productive, and thus make British capitalism competitive relative to its continental rivals (1982-1986: Lift-0ff) …
However, the experiment cannot be seen to have worked, and certainly, Margaret Thatcher would be shocked to discover how many of our privatised industries are now controlled by extremely large organisations outside the United Kingdom, who only consider profit first!
Currently, the water companies are saying that they will have things fixed by 2030, but, it will come as part of its £10bn investment, but that this will have to be paid from users. So the observation might be, we pay the rich, including the shareholders, but we suck from the poor.
I want to quote from an article about the Full Monty TV Series:
…The political destruction wreaked by successive governments wasn’t about destroying industry: it was the infrastructure of the country they’d come to asset-strip, slowly and incredibly successfully. Schools, hospitals, dental care, social care, mental health care, transport, the courts, water: all of the structures that allow people in need to function were now on the edge of collapse…
If you wish to survive in today’s society you must be extremely rich, or be a politician, the ordinary working person is going backwards. Only the ordinary working person can change this by voting in elections, both local and general, and if the right candidate isn’t there, then again do something about it – it is your country
…The structure of an oil molecule is non-polar. Its charge is evenly balanced rather than having one positive and one negative end. This means oil molecules are more attracted to other oil molecules than water molecules, and water molecules are more attracted to each other than oil, so the two never mix… (Science Sparks)
I think from looking at all the parties in or out of Government, we can now say that ‘Water and Politics’ don’t mix most definitely for the benefit of those who are not wealthy!
- Taking their clothes off was a metaphor – The Guardian 20 May 2023
- Rivers ‘receive 11bn litres of raw sewage from 30 water treatment works in a year’ – The Guardian 27 May 2023
- Warning about privatised water kept secret for over 20 years – The Guardian 20 May 2023
- POLITICS AND WATER DO NOT MIX – The Dark Side
- Why water politics matters
- Northern Ireland Water and Meter Charges