Of all the cans we’ve kicked down the road, dodging how we fund water is one with the greatest potential for regret.
That feeling deepened yesterday when Irish Water boss Jerry Grant told an Oireachtas committee that 40% of the Liffey was being used to supply Dublin and the utility would be in “serious trouble” if there was a prolonged dry period.
Mr Grant suggested the solution lies in a link with the Shannon so Dublin might have a secure supply. Opponents say Dublin must resolve its leaks crisis, which, Irish Water admits, accounts for 37% of water produced for Dublin. Each house with a leak uses the same volume of water as 35 houses.
Are we really going to match cowardice with stupidity and wait until a crisis hits before we join the real world and accept that we must pay to ensure we continue to enjoy an enviable water service?
Or maybe we’re there already — Irish Water has told a developer planning 400 houses in Maynooth that it can only supply water for 40.
Let’s have a referendum to secure Irish Water in public ownership and get on with this simple enough belated rite of passage.