Rural water services
The responsibility for the implementation of the rural water programme was devolved to Clare County Council in 1997. In doing so the department introduced new measures in relation to group water and sewerage schemes and small public water and sewerage schemes.
National Federation of Group Water Schemes advice to group water schemes in light of the continuing spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
This purpose of this advice note is to:
- Provide guidance on contingency planning for Group Water Schemes to ensure the continuity of supply and prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus through community transmission
- Highlight that traditional water treatment methods which utilise filtration and disinfection should inactivate COVID-19 virus
The grant available for new schemes or extension or upgrading of existing group schemes is 85% of the approved cost subject to a cost limit of €6,475 per house, subject also to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government's annual allocation.
Full details of the grant and procedure are set out in the explanatory memorandum [PDF, 49KB].
To apply for an extension or upgrade of the scheme, please complete and submit the Grant Application Form for Upgrading of a Group Water Scheme [PDF, 62KB] to the Rural Water Programme.
- A group water/wastewater scheme may apply to have their scheme taken in charge by Irish Water via Clare County Council. A grant of up to 100% of the total cost of any required upgrade works may be made available on review by the council up to a limit of €6,500 per domestic dwelling. Please note that two thirds (2/3) of all the members of a group scheme must agree to transfer the ownership of their scheme to the Council and all outstanding issues regarding ownership of lands, rights of access etc. need to be regularised to enable any project to under this action to proceed. The insertion of 2/3 stipulation reflects the predominance of the co-operative movement ethos through the group water sector. Please note Clare County Council policy document on takeovers. The following are the necessary application forms and standards:
- Irish Water Taking In Charge Basic Standards for Group Water Schemes [PDF, 310KB]
- Application for Taking in Charge by Irish Water [PDF, 191KB]
- Consent of Members for Takeover of Group Scheme by Irish Water [PDF, 106KB]
- Taking In Charge Group Water Scheme Connections Schedule [PDF, 60KB]
The annual subsidy payable towards the operating costs of providing water for domestic use to a group water supply scheme which meets the conditions of the subsidy scheme is subject to a limit of:
For 2016 expenditure:
- €55 for each house supplied from a public supply
- €117.50 for each house supplied from a private supply
For 2017 expenditure:
- €70.00 for each house supplied from a public supply
- €140.00 for each house supplied from a private supply
For 2018 expenditure:
- €115.00 for each house supplied from a public supply
- €231.00 for each house supplied from a private supply
An advance of the subsidy will be payable to the group no later than 30th June of each year and is subject to a limit of:
- 70% of the previous years subsidy to a maximum of 70% of the figures shown above for each house supplied from a local authority source or
- 70% of the previous years subsidy to a maximum of 70% of the figures shown above for each house supplied from a private source
Revision of Subsidy towards the Operational Costs of Group Water Schemes Providing Water for Domestic Use
The Minister has announced increased and additional annual subsides for group water schemes aimed at improving rural water services. The changes, which will come into effect from 01 January 2018, are intended to bring greater equity and fairness for rural water users and ensure that domestic members of group water schemes receive comparable benefits to those receiving their water supply from Irish Water.
Following discussions on the matter between the Department and the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS), the representative body of the group water sector, the subsidies have been increased, streamlined and new incentives introduced for smaller schemes. The current and new subsidy arrangements, as well as the rationale behind the changes, are outlined here.
The Department’s “Explanatory Memorandum - Subsidy Towards the Operational Costs of Group Water Schemes” is currently being revised, in consultation with stakeholders, to take account of the revised subsidies.
The Department also wishes to inform local authorities that payment of grants/subsidies to group water schemes will be aligned to Government policy on encouraging the use of Eircodes. As such, each GWS will be required to provide this information for each property included in the application for subsidy payments from 1 October 2016. It is understood that individual group schemes may already collect Eircodes for their own administration purposes. This requirement is now incorporated into the relevant part of the application form in the Department’s explanatory memorandum. An information leaflet has also been prepared to assist GWS on Eircodes.
Full details of the grant, procedure and application form are set out in the explanatory memorandum and application form [PDF, 231KB]
Grant for the provision or necessary improvement of an individual water supply to a house - Bored well
Grants are available under the Rural Water Programme for the carrying out of improvement works to a private water supply (this means a water supply providing water intended for human consumption and domestic purposes that serves only one house). The relevant Regulations are Housing (Private Water Supply Financial Assistance) Regulations 2020 (SI No. 192 of 2020).
The key features of the scheme are:
- The grant payable for rehabilitation works is 85% of approved costs subject to a maximum of €3,000.
- The grant payable for the provision of a new well is 85% of approved costs subject to a maximum of €5,000, where the housing authority agrees that this is the most appropriate solution.
- In recognising the role of the grant in improving water quality, the water quality treatment element (typically filtration and Ultra Violet treatment) qualifies for 100% funding up to a maximum of €1,000. This can be claimed on its own or in addition to either the grant for rehabilitation works or the grant for a new well.
- The minimum grant threshold is €750.
The scheme does not apply to houses to which a public or group scheme water supply has already been provided or can reasonably be provided. Works carried out before a prior inspection by the local authority do not qualify under the scheme.
* Where the local authority is of the opinion that the works have not been undertaken in accordance with the application, or have not been satisfactorily completed, the authority may (a) determine a revised approved cost, (b) withhold payment of the grant until the applicant carries out such alterations to the existing works or such additional works as may be notified by the authority.
* Where the local authority is of the opinion that the actual cost of the qualifying works is less than the approved cost, a revised approved cost will be determined.
Application Form and Terms and Conditions in English and Irish can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
Well owners should check their wells to ensure their health is not at risk. This includes checking that there aren't any sources of pollution entering their well and testing the well water at least once a year, ideally following heavy rain when it is most at risk of contamination.
The EPA provide easy to use information on its website explaining what well owners should do to protect their health.
The National Rural Water Monitoring Committee was set up to monitor and advise on the development and implementation of policy in relation to the rural water programme. This committee has representatives from the private group water scheme sector, the local authorities, rural organisation and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government under the stewardship of an independent chairperson.
The committee will report annually to the minister on the operation of the devolved programme.
County committees were set up in most counties to advise on the operation of the devolved programme locally. The Clare County RWMC (Rural Water Monitoring Committee) is made up as follows:
- 3 members of the council
- 1 member from the IFA
- 1 member from the ICMSA
- 2 members from the county federation of group water schemes
- 2 council officials
The County Liaison Officer was appointed to strengthen the consultative process and to facilitate the flow of information between the group water sector and the local authority. The County Liaison Officer deals with the day to day issues in the implementation of the devolved programme and can be contacted at the council offices or by telephone at (065) 6866115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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