As Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government I have responsibility for overall policy in relation to water services and Irish Water. The Water Advisory Body (WAB) is an independent body that was formally established on 1 June 2018 under the Water Services Act 2017 (Part 7) to provide oversight to Irish Water on measures needed to improve the transparency, accountability and confidence in relation to Irish Water; and to report, on a quarterly basis, to an Oireachtas Committee on the performance by Irish Water in the implementation of its Business Plan.
Members of the WAB are appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Water Services Act 2017 and consist of nominees from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), An Fórum Uisce, as well as two independent nominees appointed through the State Boards process (www.stateboards.ie), as managed by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).
My Department is in regular, ongoing contact with the Board and its Secretariat. While I have met with Mr Paul McGowan and other individual members of the WAB during my time as Minister, this was not in the context of meeting them in their official Board capacity but I intend to do so following publication of their first quarterly report.
To date there have been no advices received from the WAB. However, in fulfilment of its obligations under the Water Services Act, the WAB submitted its first quarterly report to the Oireachtas on 23 October this year. This report, which I also received and am currently reviewing, has been published by the WAB on its website (www.wateradvisorybody.ie) and is in relation to its function to review the implementation by Irish Water of its Business Plan. As part of this, a set of performance indicators has been selected to represent the activities of Irish Water in relation to the performance of its functions and from which the report draws conclusions and makes recommendations.