Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has said that a €440,000 allocation for investment in rural water schemes throughout the county will meet a critical need for local communities.

The funding is part of a €20 million Government programme that will enable development and improvement work to be undertaken on group water schemes and group sewerage schemes in rural areas. It will also provide grants for households to upgrade private wells and septic tanks.

An additional €31,000 has been allocated for improvements to the Beechwood Lawn/Bodyke and Killone Group Water Schemes to comply with drinking water regulations. 

Group water schemes in Carhucore/Ogonolloe, Kilnaboy and Ranaghan are eligible for funding from a retained reserve with Clare County Council instructed to draw up a schedule of progression by the end of the year.

Deputy Carey said that the provision of good quality water is a priority for the Government and the allocation to Clare County Council will be an important part of that objective.”

“As Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Community and Rural Affairs, I am constantly advocating for investment in our rural infrastructure including our water network. I will continue to do that with my Government colleagues on behalf of rural communities all over Ireland.”

“High quality sustainable water services are a fundamental necessity to our lives and do not distinguish between rural or urban areas. This is why the Government continues to prioritise funding for the group water sector in parallel with the overall funding for water services generally.

The funding is being provided to Clare County Council under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme, which supports capital infrastructure works on water services in rural areas. 

The funding is aimed at the improvement of water quality in existing group water schemes and the upgrading and water conservation works in group water scheme distribution networks. It will support new schemes to enable rural households to have a supply of good quality piped water for the first time. Funding is also being provided towards group sewerage schemes.

“Capital funding for the Rural Water Programme is now set to rise by €5 million to €25 million next year. This enhanced level of investment will be maintained up to 2021. Including funding being provided this year, a total of €95 million has been secured for the period 2018 to 2021. 

Last April Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy established a Working Group to conduct a review of the wider investment needs relating to rural water services. The review is focusing on the actions required to improve and sustain rural water services. 

The Working Group will also decide on capital investment priorities and requirements across all elements of rural water services, including domestic wastewater treatment systems. 

As part of this work, the Minister has committed to making improvements to the grants available to improve private wells and septic tanks. The second strand of the review will consider the more complex longer-focus issues surrounding the long-term future resourcing of the rural water sector.