Written Answers. - Water Quality.

Ciarán Cuffe


419 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government where in the water framework directive discharge to water licences (Water Pollution Act 1977) will be managed; where inadequate wastewater and sewerage treatment will be addressed; his views on the directive; his further views on the lack of funding by Government to environmental NGOs; his further views on State funding given to An Taisce, Earthwatch and Voice within the past year; the purpose for which it was distributed; whether there is any incentive or schemes to recover, minimise or recycle rain water; and the State body responsible therefor. [11129/03]

All the measures to be taken for the protection and improvement of water quality in a river basin will be specified in a programme of measures to be established under article 11 of the water framework directive. The programme of measures will be incorporated in the river basin management plan to be produced under article 13 of the directive.

I am committed to full implementation of the water framework directive, which provides a comprehensive and systematic framework for the co-ordinated and sustainable management of waters on the basis of river basins throughout the European Union. In addition to co-ordination at national level, officials of my Department and other authorities are participating in working groups, research projects and other initiatives to promote consistent and co-ordinated implementation of the WFD at regional level, on a North-South basis, and in the European Union. My Department is promoting, in particular, the establishment by local authorities of regional projects to develop river basin monitoring and management systems and to provide the bulk of the baseline data required for implementation of the directive and for development of river basin management plans. Three such projects have already been fully approved in relation to the eastern region, the south-eastern region and the Shannon River basin and are being funded by my Department. Proposals for projects in relation to the western region and the south-west region are currently under consideration in my Department.

A website – www.wfdireland.ie – has been developed by my Department to facilitate public access to information on the implementation of the directive and measures are being taken to promote and facilitate participation by all interested persons. A consultation paper on the co-ordinated management of cross-border river basins was issued jointly by my Department and the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland on 18 March 2003. A copy of the consultation paper, Managing Our Shared Waters, is available on the website. My Department provides funding to environmental NGOs for a variety of purposes. Such funding in 2002 included: a payment of €133,000 to Environmental (Ecological) NGOs Core Funding Limited of which €68,000 was used for the establishment of a secretariat for the environmental NGO sector and €65,000 was distributed as capacity-building funding among the 23 NGOs affiliated to this organisation, including VOICE, Earthwatch and An Taisce; payments under the local environmental partnership fund to assist environmental awareness projects at local level which encourage partnership arrangements between local authorities and local community groups/NGOs; funding to facilitate participation by the NGO sector in a range of international conferences including the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburgh and the 8th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Climate Change; and funding for a range of specific projects or events in relation to environmental awareness raising.
The environmental organisations An Taisce, Earthwatch and VOICE benefited under these initiatives. In addition, An Taisce received funding,inter alia, of some €63,500 for administration of the blue flag scheme, €250,000 towards the holding of national spring clean and €69,835 for their involvement in the planning process.
The use of rain water for appropriate non-drinking purposes can be achieved by, for example, the use of rainwater storage tanks which reduce the demand for drinking water from private or from public supplies mains. The use of rain water for flushing purposes is one of the innovative measures to be incorporated in a proportion of local authority housing developments. My Department is at an advanced stage in the development of a national water conservation programme for public supplies. In relation to storm water management, it is standard practice for all new sewerage networks to have separate rather than combined drains in order to reduce the impact of rainfall on wastewater treatment capacity. The management of public water supplies and wastewater collection and treatment systems is primarily a matter for sanitary authorities.
Question No. 420 answered with Question No. 413.
Questions Nos. 421 and 422 answered with Question No. 413.