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 invited to submit their bids for the funding of schemes or projects in their functional areas. An Expert Panel has been 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. I expect to conclude consideration of the Panel's recommendations and to make an announcement of the allocations shortly.
As part of the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme, I have also approved changes to the funding scheme for domestic wastewater treatment systems, or septic tanks. The new funding scheme will replace the grant which was brought into operation by the Domestic Waste Water Treatment System (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013. Under certain conditions, households can receive a grant to assist them in carrying out remediation, repair or upgrading works to, or replacement of, their individual domestic wastewater treatment system.
Work is at an advanced stage of development for the new scheme. 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.