Responsibility for the administration of the Rural Water Programme, which includes group water schemes, has been devolved to local authorities since 1997. The selection and approval of individual scheme proposals for advancement and funding under the programme, within the overall priorities set by my Department and subject to the block grant allocations provided, is therefore a matter for the local authorities, Mayo County Council in this case. The block grant allocations under the 2014 Rural Water Programme will be notified to local authorities as soon as possible.
There are particular issues with regard to the putting in place of some new group water schemes where the costs involved call in to question the viability of the scheme. At present, grants of up to 85% of cost, subject to a maximum grant of €6,475 per house, are available towards new group water schemes. The National Rural Water Services Committee, which has a role in advising me in relation to policy and investment in rural water services, has been considering the issue of funding of new group water schemes. Last month, I approved proposals by the committee for the carrying out of an exercise to get an estimate of the number and costs of new group water schemes that might have gone ahead if CLÁR funding remained in place. The results of this exercise, which is underway, are awaited.