Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Question 467: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he has made a case for Ireland, within the two months as requested, as to the continued exemption of entirely private water sources in rural Ireland such as wells and rainwater run-off tanks from his water metering plans; his views on the matter and his stance on the metering of private wells and of rain water run-off tanks and drains; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8301/12]
Question 468: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he has proposed, as part of his response, to tier his well and rainwater metering charges in proportion to the ambient participation annually experienced in different parts of the country; if he has made a case in Europe for lower charges in areas of higher rainfall in view of the evidently lesser extractive impact of any wells and rainwater run-off tanks in those areas and with reference to the long term data gathered and held by the European Environmental Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8302/12]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 467 and 468 together.
The Programme for Government provides for the introduction of a fair funding model to deliver clean and reliable water. The Memorandum of Understanding with the EU, the IMF and the ECB also contains commitments for the reform of water services delivery and operation and the introduction of domestic water charges. To meet these commitments, the Government intends initiating a water metering programme for households on public water supplies in advance of the introduction of water charges.
The Government is proposing to establish an independent economic regulator for water within the Commission for Energy Regulation and the approach to be taken in relation to setting the level of charges for water services will be determined in consultation with the Regulator.
The Government is not proposing to install meters or to apply charges in respect of private wells or rainwater run-off tanks. The position regarding Ireland’s response to the European Commission’s Reasoned Opinion on our legal interpretation of the definition of water services provided for in the Water Framework Directive is set out in my response to Questions Nos. 445, 446 and 466 on today’s Order Paper.