Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (236)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

236. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to implement changes to the three year multiannual rural water programme which would see two programmes approved per local authority area as was previously the case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9196/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I assume that the Deputy is referring to group sewerage schemes.

My Department's Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2016-2018 includes funding of group sewerage schemes, through Measure 4(d) where clustering of households on individual septic tanks is not a viable option, particularly from an environmental perspective.

Local authorities were invited in January 2016 to submit bids under the programme. The invitation envisaged no more than two demonstration group sewerage schemes being brought forward under the measure in any one year of the programme. The demonstrations will allow my Department, over the course of the programme, to determine the appropriate enduring funding levels and relationship with the current grant scheme.

An Expert Panel was convened by my Department to examine the 2016 bids from local authorities for projects under a number of the programme's measures, including 4(d) and to make recommendations on funding. The Panel recommended a priority list of demonstration schemes under this measure to my Department, which accepted the recommendations in full when approving the rural water allocation for 2016.

As only two demonstration projects can be advanced in any given year and a priority list of new demonstration group sewerage schemes has already been identified for the duration of the programme, there is currently no scope for any additional schemes.

A copy of the Expert Panel's report and consideration of all proposals under the programme is available on my Department's website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-services/rural-water-programme/group-water-schemes-and-rural-water-issues.

My Department will shortly initiate a short, focused review of the wider investment needs relating to rural water services, including the overall approach to funding rural water issues. The review will focus on governance, supervision and monitoring of the sector and the capital investment requirements. It is anticipated that the review group will engage with relevant stakeholders and will aim to complete its work by mid 2018. The process will inform preparations for a new multi-annual programme for the period 2019-2021.