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 requested 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 Department in its bids evaluation process. In addition to providing an expert perspective, the Panel brought independence, openness and transparency to the bids evaluation process which was done on a national prioritised basis. The Panel’s membership included Departmental, stakeholder and independent representations.
The Panel made recommendations to my Department on the suitability of schemes and projects for funding based on objective criteria, which were set out in the Framework document issued to local authorities when requesting proposals.
The new programme contains two funding measures for group sewerage schemes.
Measure 5 - Transition of Existing Group Water Schemes and Existing Group Sewerage Schemes to Public (Irish Water) sector. Kildare County Council did not submit any projects or schemes for consideration for funding under this measure.
Measure 6 (b) - Community Connection to Wastewater Networks. This pilot measure was designed to facilitate the continued expansion of central wastewater collection systems by extension off the public (Irish Water) network. The scheme was limited to supporting 6 demonstration projects. In total local authorities made bids for funding for 46 Community Wastewater Connection projects, with 3 coming from Kildare County Council. However, expert panel did not recommend supporting those projects when considered against the criteria for the measure in the Framework including the number of houses involved, overall cost, unit cost (per house) and information provided in the bid.
Experience gained from the demonstration projects which are being supported will inform future policy and funding in this area.