I understand that the scheme in question commenced planning its development in the early 1990s. At that time the scheme proposed to supply over 800 houses plus farms and commercial premises to a relatively large area of north-west County Kildare – covering some 4 to 5% of the area of the county.
The scheme, the size of a medium sized public water supply scheme, would be very large by group water scheme standards. Accordingly, it was included in my Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2007-2009 for public schemes. There was little progress on the project over the next number of years and it was not included in my Department’s subsequent Water Services Investment Programme for the period 2010–2013.
Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local level. Irish Water, as a single national utility, is taking a strategic, nationwide approach to asset planning and investment, and meeting customer requirements.
I understand that Kildare County Council and Irish Water met with the scheme in 2015. It became clear at the meeting that there is little prospect of the source of supply for the scheme being included in the Irish Water Capital Investment Programme. I understand that alternatives were also considered but ruled out because they were not technically feasible. Therefore, the scheme would not be able to proceed either in the short or medium term and the promoters of the scheme were informed accordingly by Irish Water. I understand that soon after the 2015 meeting the scheme decided to wind up.
Acknowledging that costs were incurred in development work on the scheme, my Department agreed to recoup an amount of some €79,000 to assist in meeting these costs. Kildare County Council was advised of this position in November 2018 and were recouped the sum earlier this year.
Given the nature of the scheme as set out above, Kildare County Council did not submit a bid for the scheme under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme announced earlier this year.
Households in the area of the scheme have other alternatives to improve their domestic water supply, if necessary. The Individual Wells Grant under my Department’s Rural Water Programme can be accessed through Kildare County Council, to assist with the provision or necessary improvement of an individual water supply to households.