Calls for privatisation of Northern Ireland Water to encourage consumers to go green

March 31, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
During the big freeze of December 2010, 60,000 homes and businesses in 80 towns and villages across Northern Ireland were left without fresh water for almost two weeks due to burst pipes caused by arctic temperatures. Since then there have been renewed calls for the government-owned Northern Ireland Water to be privatised to bring vitally needed investment to this public service.

Jim Fitzpatrick, A BBC Economics and Business Editor said in November 2011 "[Stormont] has a history of meddling in Northern Ireland Water's affairs. The company is now a non-departmental public body - following changes driven by Stormont."

As a 'non-departmental public body', Northern Ireland Water's capital investment programme must be run on a yearly basis, meaning that any planning delay can mean that money previously set aside for improvement, can not be spent.

Privatisation would result in the accounts being run on a three year basis, meaning large-scale improvements could be planned and implemented without fear of stalling.

While the cost of improving Northern Ireland's ageing water network sits in excess of £3 billion, households in Ulster do not directly pay for water usage. The Green Party in Northern Ireland has called for the introduction of water metering and fees for wastage, which they claim could raise as much as £1.5 billion to assist water infrastructure modernisation.

December 2010 is still fresh in the minds of many and with below average rainfall in N.I. this winter (30% below 1971-2000 average for February) the threat of a summer water shortage could be very real. "This increases the pressure for Northern Ireland Water to be privatised," says's Head of Marketing, Chris Dalzell.

"Consumers are buying ever more environmentally friendly washing machines that minimise water and electricity usage, but water consumption isn't concerning them as much as it should due to the non-meterage of our water services.

"Like the industry and the UK Government before us, we'd like to see the Government helping them by bringing investment to the N.I. water network. A good example of the type of washing machine we are seeing consumers requesting is the Miele W5740 which uses just 55 litres of water per cycle."

Recognising that today's consumers have a desire to save money while considering the environment, manufacturers are finding innovative ways to ensure their washing machines clean to high standards but don't cost the Earth.

"We advise people to look for the letter A or B in the areas of Energy Rating, Wash Performance and Spin Performance to ensure the best efficiencies in energy consumption. This will also help save money on annual electricity bills," continues Dalzell.

Washing machines such as the Miele W5724 which has an A+++ energy efficiency rating and a time delay feature, allowing users to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates.

While grey water recycling of shower water for toilet flushing may seem an extreme eco-solution to many, we each use an average of 35 litres per day, based on a 9 litre cistern being flushed four times. A standard washing machine uses 150 litres of water per load.

One incredibly efficient washing machine is the A+++ energy rated Samsung WF0804X8E Eco Bubble that can perform wash cycles at just 15 degrees, saving more than 30% in energy compared to a standard 30 degree wash.

The Samsung Ecobubble even won a Waterwise Recommended Checkmark.