Michael Finneran, Minister for Housing and Local Services, unveiled the Rural Water Programme which will see €85m in grants to country councils for projects this year and a further €8m for problem areas identified by the EPA as having potential quality issues of not swiftly addressed.

The government says the allocation – an annual event – will play a major role in bringing rural water schemes up to standard and, especially, in bringing any remaining schemes in the Rural Water Action Plan to completion this year.

This plan focuses on the improvement of rural water supplies required by the EU.

The Minister acknowledged the progress that has been made in upgrading sub-standard group water supplies around the country.

However, he warned schemes that are continuing to provide their members with poor quality water, and failing to make improvements, that local authorities have new powers under the Drinking Water Regulations and the 2007 Water Services Act to take decisive action against schemes that are not compliant with drinking water standards.

The breakdown of the €93m allocation published by the Minister is as follows:

  • €64.3m for measures to improve water quality in group schemes with private sources, such as rivers, lakes and boreholes;
  • €5.6m for upgrading of existing schemes and for new group water schemes;
  • €15m for improvements to smaller public water and sewerage schemes;
  • €8.1m for the particular public water supplies identified by the EPA as having potential quality issues.

The full programme can be downloaded here

Sam Bond

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