Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Questions (276)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

276. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason for the delay in implementing the new three-year investment programme for water services in rural areas that was announced in February 2019 to be in place by the end of April 2019; when the changes will be rolled out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42546/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

On 8 February this year, I announced details of the measures being funded through my Department under the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021.

Local authorities were subsequently invited to submit their bids for the funding of schemes or projects in their functional areas. An Expert Panel was put in place to support the evaluation process and its membership includes Departmental, stakeholder and independent representation. The Expert Panel has made recommendations to my Department on the suitability of schemes and projects for funding based on objective criteria which are set out in the framework document issued to local authorities when requesting proposals.

Earlier this week, on 14 October, and based on the recommendations of the Expert Panel I announced approval of projects and schemes under the multi-annual programme. Local authorities were informed of the details on the same date.

Work is also at an advanced stage of development for 2 new schemes to replace existing schemes which assist householders, in certain circumstances, in the provision of on-site domestic water supplies and waste water treatment systems. I expect that the process will be completed shortly when the necessary regulations dealing with the financial assistance arrangements and related administrative matters are put in place. This will enable a circular letter, terms and conditions, guidance and the application form to issue to local authorities shortly thereafter.