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To ask the Minister for Education and Science the assistance he is providing to primary schools to enable them to carry out works to conserve the use of water in order to reduce the amount of water charges to be paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 29th May, 2008.

Reference Number: 21510/08


Minister for Education and Science (Batt O’Keeffe, T.D.)

The demand for water in schools can be minimised through push type spray taps, low flushing toilets, urinal controls, fixing easily identifiable leaks etc.

Guidance was recently issued to schools on the most appropriate measures to minimise excess consumption of water and to reduce wastage where it exists. In addition, water conservation issues will continue to be addressed by my Department as a matter of routine where new schools are being built or where major renovations are being carried out to existing schools under the schools modernisation programme.

Primary school authorities may use their annual minor works grant to fund measures to minimise water consumption. The minor works grant has increased by nearly 50% over the past two years and some €27m issued to primary schools at the end of last year for that purpose. Individual primary schools received a grant in the sum of €5,500 plus €18.50 per pupil.

There is good potential for recovering or harvesting rainwater in schools to use for flushing toilets and where feasible these systems are being provided for in new school projects. Retro-fitting rainwater recovery into existing buildings is not possible without major intervention into the internal fabric and services of the building (dedicated water supply to every toilet in the building) and external drains (separating rain water and external drains and re-routing to a central collection point).