Irish government gives extra £55 million for rural water systems

The Irish government has announced an additional IE£55 million (UK£44 million) for capital grants and subsidies for 2001 for the upgrading and renewal of rural water supply systems.

Of the funding, IE£40 million (UK£32 million) has been designated for essential upgrading and improvement works on schemes with particular problems, with all counties benefiting from the allocation, said Noel Dempsey, Minister for the Environment and Local Government on 12 February.

“The group scheme sector, through sound planning and use of innovative technologies procured by way of Design Build Operate (DBO) contracts, have clearly demonstrated the commitment and ability to bring quality deficient group scheme supplies up to the required standard,” said Dempsey. “I fully support that approach and I am now fulfilling a commitment to adequately resource the group water scheme sector in order that quality deficient schemes can implement water improvement plans.”

DBO contracts provides companies with the incentive to build systems properly as they will then have to maintain and operate them, an environment department spokesperson explained to edie.

The remainder of the funding will be mainly devoted to pilot projects of innovative water and small sewerage systems, water quality monitoring, strategic planning for the group water sector, grants to National Federation of Group Water Schemes and the National Monitoring Committee and individual well grants.

The Minister also announced a new initiative to examine new approaches to meeting the waste water treatment needs of small rural communities with the aim of protecting and enhancing surface and groundwater quality. Details of a pilot project testing technologies for the collection and disposal of domestic waste water at a number of locations is expected to be announced shortly.

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