Thursday, 11 March 2004

Questions (160, 161, 162)

Marian Harkin

Question:

161 Ms Harkin asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if local authorities have a responsibility to provide piped water to every household in the country. [8173/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Sanitary authorities are obliged to ensure that all water intended for human consumption meets relevant EU and national water quality standards. However, under present legislation, sanitary authorities, while empowered to provide water supplies, are not obliged to extend water supply services to all properties in their areas. The Water Services Bill 2003 will continue this approach, while also providing for new arrangements for water supplies generally and rural water services.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

162 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will consider adding rural waste water as a topic to the range of issues covered by the otherwise excellent environmental bulletin in order to chart progress and developments in this area. [8176/04]

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The environment bulletin published by my Department provides a quarterly update on national and international developments in environmental protection. Information is routinely provided on a range of water quality, including waste water, issues and relevant developments in the area of rural wastewater will be addressed as appropriate in future issues.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

163 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he has received correspondence from a person (details supplied) concerning commercial water charging policy, which encourages waste and over use of the water resources; the consideration he has given to the issues raised in the correspondence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8195/04]

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I responded last year to the correspondence received from this person and confirmed my commitment to the full and transparent implementation of the Government's water services pricing policy framework.

At present, local authority water services charges and the process used for calculating non-domestic costs vary. Local authorities are, in accordance with the Government policy, moving to a more uniform system for determining and applying water services charges. In this regard, the policy framework requires full recovery of the cost of providing water services to the non-domestic sector by means of a meter based volumetric charge. The policy is being progressively implemented in the period to 2006 and is in accordance with an appropriate application of the polluter pays principle and the requirements of Article 9 of the EU water framework directive.