Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (675)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

675. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to provide funding in 2020 to Uisce Éireann for the provision of a sewerage system for Ahascragh, County Galway in view of the fact that it is the only midland wastewater treatment facility discharging raw sewerage into a watercourse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47628/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

 Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local level.  Irish Water as a single national water services authority is taking a strategic, nationwide approach to asset planning and investment, and meeting customer requirements. 

Irish Water is best placed to provide the Deputy with information in relation to the specific issue referred to in the question. The Irish Water team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.  Details of all Irish Water’s plans and projects are also available on its website www.water.ie.

In relation to overall funding, I approved Irish Water's Strategic Funding Plan 2019-2024 on 7 November 2018, following its consideration by Government.  The Strategic Funding Plan sets out Irish Water’s multi-annual strategic business plan funding requirement of €11bn to 2024, comprised of a €6.1bn investment in infrastructure and assets and €4.9bn in operating costs.   The Strategic Funding Plan is available on my Department’s website at the following link:

  https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/irish_water_strategic_funding_plan.pdf.

The funding plan in turn was developed in the context of the Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025, which I published in 2018 following its approval by Government.  The Policy Statement gives clear direction to strategic planning and decision making on water and wastewater services in Ireland.  The Policy Statement sets out a series of high-level policy objectives across the three thematic areas of Quality, Conservation, and Future Proofing, which must be pursued when planning capital investment and framing current spending plans.  The Policy Statement is available on my Department’s website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/water_services_policy_statement_2018-2025_0.pdf.

In addition to the above, Irish Water is regulated by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) as the independent economic regulator.  The CRU is responsible for setting the total level of revenue which Irish Water can receive, through Government subvention and from customers, to cover its efficiently incurred costs.  This CRU process involves, inter alia, reviewing submissions from Irish Water, including on its capital investment plan for the five year period from 2020 to 2024 to support Irish Water’s strategic objectives, as set out in the Water Services Strategic Plan (WSSP) and its Strategic Funding Plan, and thereafter setting appropriate revenue allowances for operating costs, capital costs and other items for given regulatory periods.  The actual allowed operational expenditure and capital investment is therefore decided by the CRU as part of the economic regulatory process and the annual budgetary and estimates process in respect of domestic water services.

A substantial proportion of investment by the State through Irish Water over the next ten years will be focussed on programmes to improve compliance with relevant public health and environmental standards.  This will involve implementation of the measures contained within the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021 and the achievement of the outcomes identified.