The special Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services last April recommended that there should be equity between those on the public water scheme and those on group water schemes or private water services.
An increase in the annual subsidy of €91 per household on private group schemes is welcome with maximum subsidy per house to rise to €231. This should help with some of the cost associated with running and maintaining rural schemes.
The increase from €70 per household to a maximum of €115 for those on public water schemes is also welcome. These schemes supply water to their members that is provided by Irish Water.
Also welcome are the moves towards allowing schemes to recoup up to 85% of the costs associated with the schemes.
We await the forthcoming grant proposals for those on private wells.
Increased investment in our water services is absolutely essential as is the roll out of conservation and education measures.
I and my Sinn Féin colleagues Cllr. Gerry Murray and Deputy Eoin Ó Broin TD have been engaging with Group Water Schemes in Mayo for several months to ensure equity is achieved. This engagement has been constructive and timely. We will be requesting Minister Murphy to present to the Housing, Planning and Local Government Committee early in the new year to discuss the detail of this to ensure it is consistent with the Water Committee’s recommendation of equity.
We encourage all Group Schemes to meet early in the New Year to discuss what the new changes will mean for them and the households in their area. We will also be seeking support and write offs for those schemes who find themselves in a situation of historical debt due to leaks and problems they have inherited.