Water – water charges – water – water charges; a major discussion happening across households in Ireland. Will Fine Gael keep them? Will Fianna Fail stick to their word on water charges? Will Sinn Fein abolish water charges? The discussions and politics go on.
However as a 23 year old female living in Ireland where I have access to unlimited amounts of clean safe drinking water I want to know where are the discussions taking place on the face that 1 in 9 people do not have access to safe drinkable water? Which politician is telling the people of Ireland that a 1 minute shower with a conventional showerhead uses more water than most people in sub-Saharan Africa use in an entire day for basic drinking and hygiene purpose (average 20 litres). Where are the discussions on the fact that 800 children die from diarrhoea each day caused by unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene.
Coming from a family who is anti-water charges I can see both sides of the argument. I understand this extra bill will put huge financial strains on families. I can see on a daily basis the passion from the anti-water protestors. However first hand I have witnessed the effect on communities where clean-safe drinkable water is not readily available. I have spoken with families from Somalia who has a water supply once a week. Water is a human right, until it is taken for granted. My argument today is not about the water charges – it is about the need for Ireland to recognise how necessary it is to conserve water. It is about Ireland following in the footsteps of other countries such as Germany in not allowing water to become a privilege to some and not others. It is about taking control of our water systems to secure long term water security for future generations. It is about recognising the effect that taking advantage of water is having not only locally but globally. Finally it is about the impact which little changes in regards water consumption can have long term.
Shorten your shower, turn the water of when brushing your teeth, use a bowl of water to clean vegetables instead of running water.
We are a small world – we are in it together.