I propose to take Questions Nos. 740 and 741 together.
On 8 February 2019, I announced details of the eight measures being funded through my Department under the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021 (MARWP).
Local authorities were subsequently invited to submit their bids for the funding of schemes or projects under Measures 1 through 7, 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. Following an evaluation process, the Expert Panel 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 this year, based on these recommendations, I announced approval of projects and schemes under the MARWP for 2019. Local authorities were informed of the details on the same date.
Work is now at a very advanced stage in finalising the detailed schemes for Measure 8 of the Programme, which relates to the provision of assistance to householders in relation to on-site domestic water supplies and waste water treatment systems. This includes the development of two revised schemes to replace existing schemes.
In order to ensure the integrity of the new schemes it has been necessary to seek legal advice, and the relevant unit within my Department is currently in the final stages of confirming the required legal text. I expect that the necessary Regulations dealing with the financial assistance arrangements and related administrative matters will put in place shortly and this will enable a circular letter, terms and conditions, guidance and the application form to issue to local authorities shortly thereafter.