Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
651. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he has requested the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities to carry out a review of the water supply project eastern and midlands region; if so, the outcome of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9711/19]
The Eastern and Midlands Water Supply Project has been in development since the mid -1990s, originally under Dublin City Council and under Irish Water since January 2014. It is the first comprehensive upgrade of Ireland’s water infrastructure in over 60 years.
An additional 330 million litres of treated water a day is estimated to be needed in the Greater Dublin and Eastern and Midlands Region by 2050. In 2015, Irish Water embarked on an extensive public consultation process to identify a new source of water supply for the region. Overall, ten options were assessed on technical environmental and economic grounds. The abstraction of raw water from the Parteen Basin and the Lower River Shannon was ultimately identified as the preferred option.
The Water Services Act 2013 requires the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, in conjunction with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, to provide consent for all commitments for capital expenditure above a certain threshold. Given the scale and importance of the Eastern and Midlands Water Supply Project, and recognising the statutory role of the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) as independent economic regulator of Irish Water, including its role of reviewing Irish Water’s capital investment plans, I have requested the CRU to undertake the review to support my decision as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, in relation to the capital consent that will be required in the event that planning approval is obtained for the project. The request to the CRU is consistent with the CRU’s role under Section 40 of the Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 to advise the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government on the development and delivery of water services. The review is currently ongoing.
The Terms of Reference for the review are available on the CRU website at the following link: