Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (168, 169)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

168. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the reason works have not been carried out pursuant to the Ballina-Knockmore water mains rehabilitation scheme which he approved in the first half of 2013 and for which he allocated funding of approximately €5 million; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18274/14]

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Michelle Mulherin

Question:

169. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the reason Irish Water has failed to afford the same urgency to the construction of the Ballina Knockmore water mains rehabilitation scheme which was prioritised and approved by him with a grant allocated of €5 million by him in the first half of 2013 in circumstances when businesses and residents in the affected area are experiencing water outages regularly due to the extensive leaks on the system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18275/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Question Nos. 168 and 169 together.

Mayo County Council’s Water Conservation Stage 3 – Watermains Rehabilitation Project – Phase 1, which included the rehabilitation works to the Ballina/Knockmore water mains, was included in my Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013 as a contract to start.

In February 2012 my Department approved Mayo County Council’s revised proposals for rehabilitation works in Ballina/Knockmore. This approval enabled the Council to advance these works up to, and including, the invitation of tenders , without prior approval being sought from my Department.

In addition, this approval also included advance works at Kiltimagh, which the Council could advance to construction. In December 2012, my Department approved the Council’s budget application for the scheme in the amount of €6.6 million , which included an estimated contract cost of €4.6 million in respect of the Ballina/Knockmore element and €0.8 million in respect of the Kiltimagh advance works.

My Department also approved the inclusion of the Lough Mask Regional Water Supply Scheme – Extension to Kilmaine in the Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013 at a cost of €2.025 million in May 2013. This approval included advance water main rehabilitation works in Kilmaine at a cost of €0.55 million. In July 2013, my Department confirmed that the necessary funding was in place to allow the rehabilitation works element to commence as soon as possible.

I understand that both the advance water mains rehabilitation at Kiltimagh and Kilmaine are substantially complete.

The Council did not submit the necessary documentation in respect of the rehabilitation works at Ballina/Knockmore to my Department seeking confirmation that the necessary funding was in place to enable the Council to complete the tender formalities with the successful tenderer prior to the transfer of responsibilities for the delivery of water services capital infrastructure to Irish Water on 1 January 2014 .

Irish Water is currently preparing a Capital Investment Plan for 2014 – 2016 and this will provide for the transition of projects included in the 2010 – 2013 Water Services Investment Programme and the inclusion of any additional works. Progression of water services capital projects, including rehabilitation works in Ballina/Knockmore , is now a matter for Irish Water.

Irish Water has confirmed to my Department that it has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via an email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on 1890 278 278.