Taken from the Socialist Party Wales website, yet another thing not on the list but it is a big thing up here.
For the third time in three years there has been an outbreak of cryptosporidium in the Gwynedd and Anglesey water supplies. Last time over 200 people were left ill after contracting the parasite which causes severe diahorrea, in late 2005 and a notice to boil all water (which kills the parasites eggs) was in place for several months.
Last time the company (Welsh Water / Dwr Cyrmu) agreed to compensate 37,000 customers £25 each for their inconvenience and were fined a tiny £60,000. After the incident the company spent £1million on new treatment equipment.But, the bug is back again with a notice to boil water on 30th August which will affect 45,000 people. It appears that this new treatment isn’t working either. A letter released by the Drinking Water Inspectorate pointed out that Welsh Water had been warned about possible problems with Cryptosporidium way back in 1998. The investigation into the 2005-06 incident said that treatment was in line with regulatory standards because it was believed the bug would be sufficiently dilute in the water not to cause harm!
Welsh Water, like other water companies across the UK was privatised by Thatcher in 1989. The debts of these companies were written off by the government, but this still led to price increases and staff cuts. Maintenance and investment was also cutback on as part of ‘cost-cutting’ exercises. So we have seen water shortages, outbreaks of bugs like cryptosporidium and poor maintenance of sewerage which made last years flooding much more severe.
The provision of water is a vital public service and should never have been privatised. Socialists argue for the re-nationalisation of the water companies, under democratic control and scrutiny of the local population.
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