Guest writer Simon Smyth takes the plunge and swims against the tide with his independent take on the water charges issue.
A few thoughts on the water rates debacle from a die-hard environmentalist...
I am not against water charges in themselves. We should regulate our use of water through metering to ensure there is no unnecessary wastage.
We should pay for using water based on what we use. Too much is lost in an inadequately maintained run-down, antiquated system and money should be raised purely to maintain and improve supply whilst regulating use.
It shouldn't be used to prop up the economy.
People who have low incomes shouldn't be asked to pay whether they are on benefits or on low wages. People who are higher up the scale in income should be subsidised and the wealthiest should pay the lion's share. All based on usage.
The ones who don't have to pay should get tax credits based on reduced usage. A small but welcome amount to reward good management.
It should be publicly owned and run. The appropriate body should be accountable and transparent.
Practically everything is wrong with the current water charges situation in the South and which is also likely in the North.
Irish water is only a quasi-public body so full or further privatisation is inevitable in the future. No company or individuals should profit privately from the water rates. They should receive fair and reasonable pay but no bonuses at all. They can't work for free but they likewise shouldn't be able to operate like well mannered gangsters.
It should be owned by the public for the public.
Many places in the South have water which is undrinkable. People shouldn't have to pay for water they have to boil and then have to go out and buy bottled drinking water. It is a disgrace.
A well funded water service could improve the quality of water supplied.
As I said in theory I am in favour of paying for water. I would happily pay for such a much needed, under-resourced service if this was based on ability to pay and usage.
If the money is raised and used fairly no-one should have a legitimate complaint.
However, I doubt I will ever be in favour of any scheme dreamt up by the bandits North or South. There are far too many legitimate complaints and little if any benefit.