I don’t want to appear to be a bit of a wet fortnight but don’t you just hate the privatisation of essential services such as power, gas, telecommunications, water and hamburger joints.
Well perhaps the last one would be a good idea but that is an entirely new subject for a rant. Here I want to bemoan the hypocrisy of privatised water companies.
Since privatisation the water companies have been taking the p1ss in more ways than they were obliged to do.
Why have we been subject to increasing restrictions, poorer supply and inflated bills?
Why, for instance, in our green and pleasant land [read wet] do we suffer hosepipe bans as soon as there are three sunny days in a row?
And why is the water mains pressure so weak you can no longer take a shower standing up?
The answer is ‘fat-cat’ profits.
Consider for a moment that you are that fat-cat executive on the board of one of the water companies.
What do you think the biggest priority is? – Fuelling your customers.
Nah, bleeding them dry is a much better business proposition and doing it is easy.
Firstly, you create an image that water is more precious than gold. Just wash over the fact that the product you sell for profit actually falls free from the sky.
Feed stories about drought and waste then try adding a bit of guilt about the environment for good measure and soon everyone will start to use less.
It would also be wise to shift blame firmly onto your customers claiming that their desire to live in cities makes it difficult to serve them. Gloss over the fact that when packed together it is cheaper to serve their collective needs, or the fact that most cities are built on rivers.
This all saves the cost of new reservoirs you see. In fact you may be able to sell off some existing ones for prime building plot charges.
And whatever you do don’t invest too much in desalination plant technology, that will just remind your customers that the damn stuff floats all around their country in huge quantities.
Of course a few will try to persuade you that it is your leaky old network that wastes the most and you may consider doing something about that. Or you could reduce pressure to the absolute minimum – as set by your colleagues in the watchdog that your own industry set up. That should delay expenditure for a few more years whilst your valuable stocks and shares mature.
You might even suggest ‘fun’ items like sharing a bath, or play on your customer’s basic laziness by suggesting it is good not washing the car or tending to the five-hundred pounds worth of shrubs in their garden.
You could even encourage the manufacturing industry that sells loos that only partly flushing is a good idea and that to add a brick in the cistern is a sensible measure. That should make the customers use less of your liquid gold.
Finally up the ante so much that government, or as you see it your old mates who got you the job in the first place, raise legislation to put a water meter in every property.
Obviously, the metered supply will have to reflect, on average, the non-metered rates, but as no one but you know how much the average is you can easily charge more than the average for everyone, no matter how frugal they are.
The downside may be disease and pestilence but it won’t affect you, unless the proletariat happen to brush up against you in Harrods.
Another small problem will be that occasionally you will have to flush some water down the drains just to free them up as the network was designed with actual use in mind.
Then, as a piece-de-resistance, you could drop the quality of processing – just enough to not kill or poison too many but persuade the rest to buy bottled water instead of the ‘free’ stuff from the tap. If you are really good you could even bottle the stuff yourself and make even more cash. After all the fool in the street is happy to pay more for water than petrol and water doesn’t even have the excuse of 85% tax.
Mind you the most surprising thing about all this is why you ‘fat-cats’ are involved at all. I always thought cats hated water.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Opinions section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 6 Mar 2018 but first published in the website in Mar 2005.
The image is of the author as a young boy swimming into the distance off The Isle Of Wight and was originally added in Version 3 of the website in Mar 2010. This amount of water still exists today, 20 years later. OK, forty years.