With the committee overseeing a review of the controversial water charges about to present its findings, now might be the time to rise above the petty squabbling and sink your own private water well.
Reports suggest that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will finally come to an agreement to impose punitive measures on those who overuse the water system; as a corollary up to 900 thousand new water meters are to be installed to monitor usage more closely.
However, critics argue that this will raise far too little of the estimated €5 Billion that is needed to fix the Irish water system by 2021. It is also possible that Europe will consider this solution insufficient; politically expedient in the short term for both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, but a mere bucket to catch the drops rather than a proper fix for the leak.
The only thing that can be said for certain is that the uncertainty continues.
So what can you do about your own water source as the voyage to bring Ireland’s water supply into the 21st century meanders around another bend in the river? One option is to take yourself off the whole rotten plumbing system and drill your own private well.
While drilling your own well will liberate you from both domestic and commercial water charges it is not without its own associated costs.
Estimates as to the cost of drilling domestic wells vary from between €3000-5000. This price should cover the total cost of setting up most domestic wells to the point where you have fresh, pure water coming out of your taps.
The factors that contribute to this cost include the initial drilling, the pump, water filtration system if required, and bore hole size. If you are using an exceptional amount of water you may need to consider the bore hole size.
Farmers, for example, who use water for the livestock might seriously want to look into getting their own well. Not only will they have the land that is needed for drilling a well, they will already be paying commercial water charges.
At a cost of between €3000-5000, a well used for farming should pay for itself within two to three years.
The period of time that it takes for domestic wells to pay for themselves is significantly longer, but with the uncertainty of the water charges you might find that it is quicker than anyone expects.
Planning permission is not needed for wells that pump less than five million litres of water per day, which is far more than any domestic or farm well will pump. For new builds, however, a well needs to be indicated on the plans.
It is advised that wells are positioned 100ft from septic tanks and thebwell must be properly sealed off from ground surface water, which nowadays with a lot of chemicals being used for farming and even gardening, is contaminating surface water.
The cost benefits of drilling a private well for farmers who are already paying for commercial water are significant and should be seriously considered as a superior alternative to mains supply.