Written Answers. - Water and Sewerage Schemes.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

437 Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to two cases (details supplied) in County Offaly where proposed housing developments were unable to proceed; his views on desirability of group water schemes being in a position to exercise an effective veto on such development; if he will take action to limit the apparent absolute power vested in group water schemes in circumstances such as this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7992/01]

County councils are currently drawing up strategic rural water plans whose objective is to determine, in accordance with best engineering and economic principles, how rural water services should be developed, whether by way of new or upgraded public or group water supply systems, or a combination of both. Where a strategy agreed by a county monitoring committee determines that group schemes are the most appropriate water service providers in a given area, the intent would be that the groups concerned would supply all potential consumers within that area.

I am considering, in the context of new water services legislation to be published later this year, the introduction of a licensing system for certain group water schemes which would regulate the operation of such schemes.

Jim Higgins

Question:

438 Mr. Higgins (Mayo) asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if revised contract documents have been received by his Department for Crossmolina water scheme; and if the project is to be included in the Department's updated Water Services Investment Programme. [7993/01]

The Ballina regional water supply scheme – extension to Crossmolina – was tenth on the list of water schemes submitted by Mayo County Council in response to my Department's request to local authorities to undertake a fresh assessment of the needs for capital works in their areas and to prioritise their proposals on the basis of the assessments. The priority lists were taken into account in the framing of the Water Services Investment Programme 2000-2002 announced last July. Given the priority rating afforded to the scheme by the council, the level of competing demand and the funding available, it was not possible to include it in the programme at that time.

Revised contract documents for the scheme were received in my Department last week and these will be considered in the context of the next phase of the water services investment programme which will roll it forward to 2003.