Galway survey responses 2

By Ailish Lalor

In our first post about water quality in Galway, Ireland, we introduced you to our respondents’ backgrounds and their usage and experience of water. This post discusses their experience of water quality and opinions of Irish Water, the water provider for Ireland.

NB: These results may be slightly biased as most of our respondents were probably connected to our local partners in Galway — Right2Water and Galway University.

What was their experience of water quality?

Nearly half of our 77 respondents claimed their water had a funny taste or smell, while 36% believed there was pollution in the water, 22.7% believed there was baceria or parasites in the water, and 28% had another unidentified cause for concern with regard to the water. Only 25% said they had no concerns.

How was their relationship with Irish Water?

56% were paying a water charge to Irish Water, while 16% said they had a legal reason for not paying these charges (e.g., a well) and the remaining 28% did not pay because they had a moral objection to paying charges.

In terms of willingness to pay, 32% said they were content to pay the water charges while 13% said they were too high, 46% had a non-price objection to them and 9% said “not applicable” — perhaps because they are drinking well water.

93% rated Irish Water’s attempts to solve water quality issues below 5/10. When it comes to water charges, 51% said that water users should pay, while 23%, 14% and 8% said the national government, city council or businesses should pay. 22% of respondents were unhappy with the customer service they received from Irish Water, 5% were happy and 73% had never been in contact with the organisation.

Galway survey responses 1

By Ailish Lalor

After three months of effort, we are happy to announce that the survey results for Galway, Ireland, are out! In case you haven’t been following our journey so far, we launched our Galway campaign in late February to understand how Galway residents perceived their drinking water quality. This post introduces our 77 respondents in terms of their backgrounds and daily interactions with water. (The next post will be about water quality and Irish Water.)

NB: These results may be slightly biased as most of our respondents were probably connected to our local partners in Galway — Right2Water and Galway University.

Who are our respondents?
72% of respondents were 18-25 years old. 68% had an income of less than €1000 per month. 98.7% had lived in Galway for more than six months. 4% lived alone.

Where did they get their water and how did they use it?
98.6% got their water from the mains. 60% drank water directly from the tap, (57.3% said their friends did the same) 14.1% filtered their tap water, 4.2% boiled water before use, and 32.4% drank bottled water.

85.1% did not know if there is lead in their pipes. (We don’t know if there’s lead in the pipes, either.)  Almost all used water for cooking, cleaning and bathing, with most also drinking it but less than half using it for gardening — a result that may indicate a lack of gardening or rain-fed gardens.

Engaging with the local government in Galway

When we go to a new city with the City Water Project, one of the first groups we try to make contact with is the local government: mainly to let them know that we will be working in their city, and also to ask for information and contacts with local interested groups. In our experience, the local government is not usually engaged at this stage; but the Galway City Council was very helpful and interested from the offset.

We asked for and were given an overview of the situation in Galway, at least as far as the city council was concerned. Galway City Council explained who was in charge of providing water (Irish Water), where it came from (mainly Lough Corrib), and how it was treated. They also gave us a contact with Irish Water.

So, we have no complaints about the local government in Galway. They seemed eager to help us and were clearly well aware that water quality was an issue in their city. However, in the next blog post, we’ll talk about trying to get into contact with Irish Water, and beginning to understand what the main issues with water quality in Galway are. Stay tuned!

Remember, if you live in Galway, please fill out our survey: and if you have any questions or comments, please email us.

The City Water Project goes to Galway

By Ailish Lalor

For the months of April and May this year, the City Water Project is running a campaign in Galway. Galway is located on the west coast of Ireland and is the fourth most populated city in Ireland, containing many tourist attractions such as the Burren. However, it has also become famous, at least within Ireland, for its water problems.

In 2007, a cryptosporidium outbreak in Lough Corrib caused the public water supply in Galway city to become contaminated. Residents were told to boil water and many elected to purchase bottled water. The Irish Government, originally through Galway County Council and from 2014 onwards, Irish Water, attempted to improve the situation through investment and repairs of the system. Our mission is to see whether the citizens of Galway feel that enough has been done: in other words, do they feel they can trust the water coming through their taps?

In following blog posts we will be detailing our engagement with the local government, and with other interested groups. For now, if you have any questions, do email us: and if you’re a resident of Galway, please fill out our survey about your perception of water quality and usage!