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With the continued controversy over public water charges, I have had many enquiries and letters, with regard to the harvesting of rain water for domestic use, and what funding, if any, is available to have it installed.
The harvesting of rain water is nothing new.
Practices of the past, particularly in rural areas, are now being revived, as alternatives to what we have today. Water conservation was always a priority.
I recall going to the well for water at the rear of a five acre field. When the well got muddy from usage or from torrential rain, I was sent to the local quarry for a bucket of lime, which was put in the well to improve the quality of water. I recall the local GP telling me that “lime in water is good for the heart, but not for the kettle”.
The well was soon replaced by roadside water-pumps, which local authorities provided. Like the old well, the roadside water pump was much appreciated at the time.
Some of these pumps are now ornaments in private gardens.
The production of clean drinking water is becoming more expensive by the day. Many families will be unable to meet these charges, and the harvesting of rain water may be their only option.
This method of water supply was very evident in north Dublin, in the 1950s.
The cost was minimal. Homeowners could purchase empty, 50-gallon tar-barrels from the local authority, where six or more were properly placed and channelled to take rain water from the house roofs.
With modern technology, it is not beyond our capabilities to devise a system to advance the harvesting of rainwater for domestic use.
It is a matter for the Department of the Environment to initiate such a scheme which, as well as reducing demand for water, would also generate employment in the manufacture and installation of rainwater harvesting systems.
I have put the proposal to the department. In the interest of water conservation and for families who are feeling the financial pinch from water charges, this proposal may help ease the strain on the family purse.
Cllr Noel Collins
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