Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels, including responsibility for Irish Water’s eastern and midlands water supply project. This project has been in development since the mid-1990s, originally under Dublin City Council and under Irish Water since January 2014. This will be the largest strategic national water supply project in generations and will service communities across a wide area. The project will, of course, be subject to the relevant planning and other environmental consent processes.
The Water Services Act 2013 requires the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, in conjunction with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, to provide consent for all commitments for capital expenditure above a certain threshold. This is a financial control and not a project consent. In this context, given the scale and importance of the eastern and midlands water supply project and recognising the statutory role of the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities as independent economic regulator of Irish Water, including its role in reviewing Irish Water’s capital investment plans, I have requested the commission to undertake a review to support my decision in relation to the major capital commitment consent that will be required closer to construction stage. The review has commenced and I expect to receive a report by the end of 2019.