If we are to look the options available to the Government in implementing a Nation Water Meter Plan, we need to look at a few facts. The programme for national recovery states:
” To achieve better quality water and environment we will introduce a fair funding model to deliver clean and reliable water. We will first establish a new state owned water utility company to take over responsibility from the separate local authorities for Irelands water infrastructure and to drive new investment. The objective is to install water meters in every household in Ireland and to move to a charging system that is based on use above free allowance” – Government Programme for National Recovery 2011-2016
The first step will be the formation of an organisation to manage water metering, this will be and existing semi – state utility or a new entity. There will be many steps required along the way including setting up the necessary Legislation, Regulation, Identifying the customer base, Procurement of Product and Metering Installation Services, Reading of Meters etc.
The above steps can only happen if there are suitably skilled people to successfully implement this programme. It does not matter how much legislation is in place if skilled people are not available. We currently have plenty of people who are available to do this work, and many of them have skills such as qualified plumbers. The key will be to get all people involved in the rollout trained if we want consistency in skill sets resulting in a coordinated rollout.
Training people in water meter installation is the only solution, but we have learned in the past that flooding the market with a variety of training courses does not necessarily provide the best solution. A training course must be accredited by a recognised accreditation body or the quality if the training course will not be maintained. Indeed this point was dealt with at the 2nd Annual Water Metering Conference held in May 2011 by the speaker *Kevin Murray, Chartered Engineer , who made the point that ” unregulated training courses are worthless “, Kevin went on to detail that a properly accredited training is critical for the benefit of the worker.
* Kevin Murray is a principal of Kevin J Murray & Co Ltd and a Director of Cork Chamber of Commerce
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