A National Roads Authority (NRA) type model for the provision of water services and infrastructural development would inevitably lead to increased outsourcing and hasten the privatisation of the water services infrastructure, according to the Secretary of the Group of Unions at Ervia, Adrian Kane. “Over the past decade, SIPTU members have continuously warned against the creeping privatisation of water services and the proposal to use the NRA model would hasten this process.“The NRA is responsible for approximately 6% of the road network while Irish Water has overall responsibility for both the capital investment and servicing of the State’s entire water infrastructure.“The NRA’s capital works budget also reduced dramatically over the period of the recession from €1.2 billion in 2010 to a little over €0.5 billion in 2014. This is why a single, publicly owned utility, with a dedicated income stream, is imperative if the huge problems facing our water infrastructure are to be tackled in an intelligent manner.“The debate between the payment for water services and the structure best designed to deliver and improve our water infrastructure needs to be separated. While water charges remain contentious it is imperative that the provision of water services remains in public ownership and is organised in a strategic and intelligent manner.“In a separate development, the Ervia Group of Unions has written to the leaders of the main political parties seeking assurances for future employment of our members with Irish Water. SIPTU members received written pledges from candidates across the political spectrum in the run-up to the general election for a referendum to ensure the enduring public ownership of water in its ‘Water Guarantee’ campaign. We will now be insisting that those same politicians honour their pledges.”