New water Bill helps big business extract water for huge profits at our expense

The Green Party are in government, so they’re bound to ensure the biggest users of water are regulated…

I mean…they’re all about conservation, aren’t they?

Well the government’s new proposed legislation has set the bar extremely high in terms of how much water a private company can abstract (take from the ground) before they’re required to obtain a license.

Two million litres per day is what is proposed by government (or 730 million litres per year) in the General Scheme of Water Environment (Abstractions) Bill.

For context, a bottled water company or a data centre can use the same amount of water as 18,000 households before having to seek a license off the State. Yet they want to bring in water charges and make those households pay for the water they use.

Not surprisingly, two million litres per day is more than most data centres use on a daily basis. For instance, Facebook’s data centre used half that allowance in 2019 (395 million).

The implications of this are that taxpayers are expected to fund a project bringing the river Shannon to Dublin because these data centres are using so much water there’s expected to be shortages in the Dublin region in the not-so-distant future.

We are going to pay more than €1.3 billion for that project so that these companies can have their water for free.

In an article by The Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) said the proposed Bill will fail to regulate the majority of instances.

‘The Bill has set regulation thresholds to such a high level that, “the substantial majority of abstractions will remain unregistered and unmonitored, potentially having serious implications for the local environment and future rural water supply”, according to SWAN.

The Bill will also result in potential breaches of key EU environmental directives, such as the Habitats Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

“The proposed Bill is very much light touch regulation and is a long way off providing meaningful monitoring or controls of the extraction of our most precious resource,” SWAN coordinator Sinéad O’Brien said.

Out of at least 21 water bottling plants in the country, none abstract enough water to pass the proposed threshold for licencing, according to SWAN, and only five abstract enough water to even require registration.’

This isn’t about conservation… it’s about enabling multinationals to extract our natural resources for free, making the rest of us pay for the enormous profits they generate.

But imagine what it would be like if we didn’t have a Green government…eh!

More here:

If you are interested in supporting a new left media and political education project in Ireland, go to

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store