Monday, March 30, 2015

Water Is a Basic Human Right: In Ireland and Beyond

In the United States, if you’ve ever rented an apartment or owned a home, you’ve gone through the process of setting up a billing service with the water company. You pay for exactly how much water you use in a month. Use less? Save some money and help the planet. 

In Ireland, things are a bit different. 

Here, every citizen pays a “water tax” which helps cover the cost of the water used in the country and takes care of the infrastructure needed to supply that water. Last year however, a private national water company was set up and is installing meters in homes and apartments.

This has sparked nationwide protests and uproar that is only seen in the United States during election time. I was fortunate enough to walk around 2,000 people protesting in Dublin the first week I was here. 

During March, 20,000 – 30,000 people marched through Dublin to “Abolish Water Charges” and have decided they simply won’t pay their bills for water. They’re also calling for the right to water to be added to the Irish Constitution. To the Irish, water is a basic human right, and they won’t step down until that’s guaranteed.

- Sebastian, 2016 Cohort

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