Ireland's Water Programme
Water Services Investment
On 19th April 2010, the then Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government John Gormley, published the Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012 (WSIP).
This €1.8 Bn programme prioritises projects that meet with EU environmental compliance issues, for example standards in drinking water and wastewater treatment. Water conservation is also a central concern as it is estimated that in parts of the country over 50% of the water supply is lost due to leakages.
The first review of the Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012: (Review 2011) (pdf file) was published by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Mr Phil Hogan TD on 7th July 2011.
In 2010, thrity-eight contracts were commenced, including waste water treatment plants in Tullamore, Co Offaly, and Portrane/Donabate/Rusk/Lusk in Fingal. A water sewerage scheme in Tuam, Co Galway, was also commenced.
From January to July 2011, twelve contracts with a value of €27m were approved to commence construction, including a €15m funding for water treatment projects in Galway. However, it is expected that over sixty contracts will commence construction by the end of 2011. Details of the progress of the WSIP to July 2011 are available in the Review 2011 (pdf file).
Minister Hogan has since approved three further projects since July 2011. These included major water conservation works in Limerick City estimated at €5.5m , the Wexford Mains Rehabilitation Project estimated at €1.15m, and approval for the Tender Documents for the Design, Build and Operate (DBO) Contract of the Laois Grouped Towns Sewerage Scheme estimated at over €15m. Continued progress on the WSIP 2010-2012 is available on the website of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
In addition, in 2013 a European Investment Bank loan of €200 million was approved to support improvements in Ireland’s Water Services Investment Programme, by financing 23 projects in Dublin and 10 counties around the country. It will provide new water mains, water and wastewater treatment facilities and reservoirs, as well as measures to improve water conservation. The water investment initiative also includes replacement of over 300km of old water mains in Dublin City, South Tipperary, Galway and Limerick. In addition the project will increase drinking water supply through two new reservoirs in Kerry and North Tipperary.
In Ireland, users of non-domestic water services must pay a charge to local authorities. This charge is based on the amount of water consumed, which is monitored through a metering system, and does not include any profit for the local authorities.
There is no charge currently for households using water for domestic purposes, although this is set to change with formation of Irish Water and the introduction of domestic water metering. The first domestic water bills are scheduled for early 2015.
The charges for the water services vary between local authorities as it is dependant on the cost of providing the infrastructure, including installation of metering, operation of treatment plants and administration of the service.
Under the Water Pricing Policy, the local authorities identify and meter all non-domestic users of their water services. This includes businesses, industry, agriculture, hotels and other accommodation, educational or sports facilities, as well as hospitals, community or charitable services. In many cases, the water charge to the local authority includes water supply, sewage collection and disposal. This is based on the “water in/water out” principal.
In cases where the installation of a water meter is not possible, local authorities may base the water service on a fixed charge. Metering water supplies and waste water discharges is provided for under Part 5 of the Water Services Act 2007.
Further information on Water Charges/Metering is available on the website of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
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