ON a visit to Mayo last week, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dick Roche TD announced that Mayo will be allocated nearly €19 million in the 2007 Rural Water Programme.
The Rural Water Programme, which the Minister launched at Aras an Chontae Castlebar, totalled €142 million, with Mayo receiving the second largest allocation after Galway, which receives €21 million.
The allocation will be broken down for different projects, with €11.5 million going to new water treatment plants for group water schemes; €1.25 million for the connection of group water schemes to public mains; €2.5 million for the takeover of group water schemes by the local authority; €2.84 million for new group water schemes and the upgrading of existing schemes, and €750,000 for small public water and sewerage schemes.
Minister Roche said it was the right of every household to avail of clean drinking water and the 2007 programme would fund the completion of new water treatment facilities for 77 schemes. He said the takeover of group schemes and connection to public mains had not happened as quickly as he wanted. However, he added the group water schemes were an important part of the community and he was happy to see them continue.
“This year we are mainly targeting measures to improve drinking quality in group schemes,” said Minister Roche. “Group water schemes are an extraordinary expression of the community helping themselves and I am delighted to be in a position to provide additional funding.”
Brendan O’Mahony, Chairman of the National Federation of Group Water Schemes, warned group schemes which had not agreed to an upgrade plan that sitting still was simply not an option.
“Regulations and licensing are now the way sooner rather than later,” he said. “Schemes like Killasser with seriously subsidised water have to explain to their members why they are turning down an offer of 100 per cent funding for the provision of water treatment when they do not have a viable plan B on offer.”
County Manager Des Mahon thanked the Minister for the increased funding. He said the plan would provide up to 12,000 homes with clean drinking water. He complemented the EPA for monitoring the water supplies but felt the problems cited in the latest report for Mayo did not make reference to the work currently in progress.