Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has highlighted changes to grants for septic tanks and wells which will see increased funding available to Co. Kildare residents. The changes come under Measure 8 of the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme, which runs from 2019 to 2021.
“Under the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme, the Government is allocating €1.25 million in grants for domestic wastewater treatment systems (septic tanks) and €4 million in respect of grants for private water supplies (wells) for 2020.
“The funding is being provided to local authorities, including Kildare County Council across the country under the National Development Plan 2018 – 2027.
“This year the means test is being removed for funding for private water supplies as well as domestic wastewater treatment systems. In both cases, the maximum grants are also being increased: up to €5,000 for domestic wastewater treatment systems and up to €3,000 for works to an existing well or up to €5,000 for a new well.
“The funding will support infrastructure improvements for domestic wastewater treatment systems and private water supplies in rural areas of Kildare. This funding announcement builds on the significant investment already being made through the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme, to support the communities and the local economies of rural Ireland including here in Kildare.
“The Government continues to work with local authorities and group water schemes to ensure that people living in rural Ireland have access to quality water services, equivalent to those living in urban areas.”
The announcement follows the introduction of the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021, which made changes and improvements in how funding was targeted in relation to rural water services. Funding under the first seven measures was approved by Minister Eoghan Murphy, and announced last year.
Key details of funding under Measure 8 are as follows:
▪ Domestic wastewater treatment systems:
▪ The removal of the means test requirement.
▪ The maximum grant is being increased to €5,000.
▪ Expansion of the scheme to include two new grant schemes to support the attainment of water quality objectives in what are called ‘high status objective catchment’ water areas and ‘prioritised areas for action’, as identified in the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021.
▪ Private water supplies:
▪ The removal of the means test requirement.
▪ The maximum grant will increase from €2,031 to €3,000 for improvement works to an existing well.
▪ The revised maximum grant payable for the provision of a new well is €5,000, where the housing authority agrees that this is the most appropriate solution.
Notes to Editors
Rural water services account for a significant portion of our overall water services. Based on the most recent Census figures available, 9% of people have their drinking water supplied by group water schemes. A further 10% of people get their drinking water from private wells. A total of 29% of households are not connected to public wastewater services and depend on either a septic tank, group wastewater treatment or other systems for treating their waste water.
In April 2018, the Minister established a Working Group to conduct a review of the wider investment needs relating to rural water services. This followed from a recommendation made by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Service in 2017.
The terms of reference for the review provided for a two-strand approach. Strand 1, which considered the composition and distribution of funding for the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme from 2019 up to 2021. The recommendations arising from this Strand of work formed the basis for the enhanced investment programme. In February 2019, the Minister announced details of the new Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021, inviting local authorities to bid for funding under Measures 1-7, in consultation with local group water schemes. In October 2019, after an assessment process conducted by an Expert Panel, the Minister announced the allocations under Measures 1-7 of the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021.
Strand 2 is considering the more complex longer-focus issues surrounding the long-term future resourcing of the Rural Water Sector. This work has continued to date, with further recommendations expected to be made to the Minister.
The organisations that are participating on the Working Group reflect the importance and wide ranging impact of the Rural Water Sector. In addition to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Working Group comprises: the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Health Service Executive, the National Federation of Group Water Schemes and the County and City Management Association. The Working Group is also consulting with other relevant stakeholders, including Irish Water.