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.
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 (individual wells) and waste water treatment systems (septic tanks).
The changes that I have approved to the individual wells grant scheme are as follows:
- A maximum grant for rehabilitation works of €3,000, which represents an increase of 47% on the current maximum grant amount;
- Where the local authority agrees that the most appropriate solution is to provide a new well, the maximum grant payable would be €5,000;
- Recognising the role of the grant in improving quality, the water quality treatment element (typically filtration and UV filtration) will qualify for 100% funding up to a maximum of €1,000;
- Up to 85% of other costs would be met, subject to the total combined maximum costs of €3,000 for well rehabilitation or €5,000 for a new well;
- For clarity, applicants would not be able to avail of both grant amounts, so they would not be able to avail of €3,000 for well rehabilitation as well as the €5,000 for a new well.
The waste water treatment system grant allows under certain conditions, households to receive a grant to assist them in carrying out remediation, repair or upgrading works to, or replacement of their individual septic tanks.
In order to ensure greater uniformity with other measures in the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme, the means test that previously applied to this grant scheme is being removed and the level of grant support is being increased to 85% of the eligible costs of installation/upgrade or €5,000 (up from €2,500/€4,000) whichever is the lesser. This represents an increase of 100% and 25% respectively, relative to the current maximum grant levels.
I expect that the process for these new schemes 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 circular letters, terms and conditions, guidance and the application forms to issue to local authorities shortly thereafter.
In the meantime, the existing schemes continue to operate. Details are available on my Department's website at the following links or from the local authority concerned: