The total Government funding available for this year’s Rural Water Programme is €85 million. Capital block grant allocations of over €71 million are available to County Councils in order to bring rural water schemes up to standard and to complete any remaining schemes in the Rural Water Action Plan this year.
The €71.5 million allocation provides:
* over €45 million for measures to improve water quality in group schemes with private sources, such as rivers, lakes and boreholes;
* €11.35 million for upgrading of existing schemes and for new group water schemes;
* €15 million for improvements to smaller public water and sewerage schemes.
Of the €45m earmarked for group schemes with private sources:
* €30.8 million will be spent in connection with new water treatment facilities;
* €14.3 million will be invested in connecting group schemes to public water supplies and on takeover of schemes by local authorities and for minor works to group schemes awaiting substantial improvements.
The €15 million for small public water and sewerage schemes will allow local authorities to carry out works to help ensure compliance with drinking water quality standards, improve environmental compliance and support economic development in rural areas.
Local authorities had been given powers under the Drinking Water Regulations and the 2007 Water Services Act to take decisive action against schemes that are not compliant with drinking water standards.
The Government has also announced that it will increase the maximum grant per house applying to new group schemes for 2011. The Government funds 85% of the cost of such schemes, subject to a maximum grant per house of €6,475. This limit is being increased to €7,475 with effect from 1 March 2011, for any new schemes commencing in 2011 to be funded from the 2011 allocation.