Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Water Services Funding
519. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 690 of 28 November 2017, the details of activities covered by the funding from his Department to an organisation (details supplied). [51762/17]
The National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) is the representative body for the Group Water Schemes (GWS) sector in Ireland. The primary role of the NFGWS is to represent the GWS sector nationally, including working closely with my Department to ensure that adequate and equitable capital and subsidy funding is in place to ensure the provision of high quality water to their domestic members. The NFGWS also works with local authorities, Irish Water and other agencies to ensure the water supplied, and the service provided, by the GWS sector fully meets the standards of the Drinking Water Regulations.
The NFGWS plays a key role in promoting responsible attitudes towards the problem of deficient water supplies in the GWS sector and the need to take remedial action to improve water quality.
A key element of the work of the NFGWS is the development service provided to GWS locally through its development staff. This work includes support, advocacy, advice and training in areas such as source protection, quality assurance, water conservation, as well as promoting long-term sustainable governance and management structures in the GWS sector to achieve consistently high levels of water quality and high standards of service to GWS members.
To achieve this, the work of the NFGWS over the years includes:
- contributing significantly to the preparation of the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for the GWS sector in 2002. Adoption and implementation of this document, revised and updated in 2009, by GWS is a condition of my Department’s subsidy funding;
- developing a quality assurance system of drinking water safety planning from source to tap for GWS. Implementation of a quality assurance system by GWS is now a condition on any scheme receiving subsidy funding;
- submitting to my Department a proposal for source protection of GWS in 2013. My Department’s Rural Water Programme now incorporates a sub-measure for funding the preparation of plans for source protection;
- submitting to my Department an amalgamation/ rationalisation strategy in 2016, which advocates further amalgamation/ rationalisation within the sector particularly on smaller GWS. My Department’s Rural Water Programme incorporates a sub-measure for funding such amalgamations; and
- publishing, this year, a useful guide on disinfection for GWS.
Prior to the establishment of the NFGWS, the GWS sector lacked an overall organisational structure and only a minority of schemes took an active interest in the renewal and improvement of water treatment plants and pipe networks. The expressed commitment of the NFGWS is to work closely with all partners involved to achieve the successful delivery of the GWS sector.