For Written Answer on : 11/05/2021
Question Number(s): 346 Question Reference(s): 24400/21
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage the progress made to date with respect to the Town and Villages Growth Programme 2020-2024; the amount allocated under the fund nationally; the amount allocated to each local authority area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of public water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels.
As part of Budget 2021, I secured funding of over €1.4 billion to support water services. This includes €1.3 billion in respect of domestic water services provision by Irish Water. This overall investment will deliver significant improvements in our public water and wastewater services, support improved water supplies right across Ireland, including rural Ireland, and support a range of programmes delivering improved water quality in our rivers, lakes and marine area.
Irish Water brought forward proposals for a Small Towns and Villages Growth Programme, as part of its Capital Investment Plan 2020-2024 to the Commission for Regulations of Utilities (CRU) for consideration. I understand from Irish Water that an allocation of almost €100 million for this programme was approved by the CRU. I also understand that projects are now commencing design, and that investment under the Programme will begin to deliver in the coming years. Irish Water is working with local authorities across the country in ensuring the investment supports the growth of identified settlements where these are prioritised in line with the local authority development plans. Further details of a recent announcement are available on the Irish Water website at https://www.water.ie/news/small-towns-and-villages/index.xml
For specific details on Irish Water’s allocations under this programme it may be helpful to note that Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.
My Department is also considering the matter of waste water infrastructure in villages/settlements not serviced by Irish Water. I have instructed the relevant officials in my Department to prepare a report on this topic at national level. This will include a baseline survey of all rural local authorities to establish the numbers, size, national distribution and other environmental impacts for villages/settlements that do not have waste water collection and treatment infrastructure provided by Irish Water. I will be in a position to provide further update once I have received this report.