Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Ceisteanna - Questions (Resumed) - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Wastewater Treatment

9:25 pm

Photo of Malcolm NoonanMalcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party) | Oireachtas source

I am aware of the demand for wastewater infrastructure in towns and villages where there is no access to public infrastructure, particularly in County Galway, which the Deputy represents, and other areas of the country.  Our Department builds its strategic water policy and infrastructure delivery programmes around the national planning framework 2018-2040 and the National Development Plan 2018-2027.  Investment is primarily delivered through Irish Water. Our Department operates the rural water programme directly.

The programme for Government supports the uptake of Irish Water's small towns and villages growth programme 2020-2024 which will provide water and wastewater growth capacity in smaller settlements that would otherwise not be provided for in Irish Water's capital investment plan. The current focus of the programme is on locations within existing public water services infrastructure. Irish Water is subject to independent economic regulation by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. I understand an allocation of €97.5 million from the Department to Irish Water for this programme was approved by the commission.

Complementary to the Irish Water programme, the Department is currently examining wastewater requirements in the context of villages and settlements that do not have public wastewater infrastructure.  The Minister, Deputy O'Brien, has instructed the relevant officials in the Department to prepare a report on this topic at national level. This report will include the analysis of a baseline survey of all rural local authorities to quantify and qualify the number of villages and settlements concerned. This process is at an advanced stage and the Minister will be in a position to consider the matter further in respect of the villages and similar settlements identified in the survey once he has received the final report.


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