Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Contaminated Water – Yet Again!

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.


RickB said...

I was about to post on this today, maybe I'll rejig it. Have you read the history of Welsh Water, it's hilarious (as in horrific) they got privatised then invested to make profits in all sorts, that failed they were bought sold a couple of times and now are chartered to just do water (allegedly) but they are a ghost almost, they contract out loads of work they are more like a commissioning agency. In every possible way they are a model of privatised contracting out monopoly and their complete inability to provide potable water rather shows the abject failure of neoliberal bullshit especially as applied to essential utilities with a captive market. You cannot have hundred of pipes going to each house and the 'client' choosing which water to use based on a choice of suppliers. That they did privatise water shows the absolute insane ideologues who infected us in the 80's. It simply is not practical for essential domestic utilities to be profit focussed private enterprises, even if you accept their dogmas of competition and rational market actors it cannot work with water and some other industries by basic logistical, infrastructure and engineering factors. It is is not even up for political debate, yet they politicised everything right down to the water we drink which along with oxygen makes the essential conditions for life. Make sure you claim every damn penny you deserve in compensation and if anyone you know gets ill, think about a personal injury lawsuit. I'm -so far- out of it because we get water from island reservoirs but it pisses me off as I drink almost nothing but water, several litres a day, i truly like water as my favourite drink, if they can't provide clean water in the 21st century, well thank Cheesus they don't have the brewery/piss up contracts for Wales. Fucking imbeciles.

Leftwing Criminologist said...

i drink an awful lot of water too. - i only got the notice to boil water yesterday, a whole three days late - fortunately i'd heard about it at work.

the holding company for welsh water claim them are not for profit but then contract everything out to people who are profit making.

apparently before the first outbreak of cryptosporidium occured they just assumed that it would be dilute enough in local water supplies!!!