I propose to take Questions Nos. 988 and 992 to 994, inclusive, together.
Privately sourced group water schemes that are not in compliance with the required standards for drinking water may, where available, connect to a local authority main or, alternatively, provide essential stand alone water treatment and disinfection facilities. Grants of up to 100% of cost are available for the provision of such facilities under design build operate contracts, coupled with bundling of individual schemes, in accordance with standard procurement procedures. Related civil works such as buildings, reservoirs and pipelines, and works associated with connecting to a local authority main, are grant aided at up to 85% of cost, subject to a maximum grant of €6,475 per house.
Bundled DBO procurement of treatment and disinfection facilities accords with the recommendations of the national rural water monitoring committee and is being implemented in partnership with the National Federation of Group Water Schemes. Facilities provided under these arrangements remain in the ownership of the group water scheme. The powers of a local authority to take in charge a group scheme are not affected by the existence of a DBO contract.
Reducing the level of unaccounted for water is a priority in the case of group schemes participating in DBO projects. Grants are available for a range of remedial actions and water conservation measures to reduce water losses, including the provision of bulk meters and telemetry and the upgrading and renewal of inadequate water storage and distribution systems. My Department, in conjunction with the National Federation of Group Water Schemes and the Water Services National Training Group, also provides a range of training courses for group scheme managers, caretakers and operatives in the areas of leak detection, network management and maintenance, and water conservation.