BIG improvements to water schemes across Mayo will not mean County Council takeover, the chairman of the National Federation of Group Water Scheme (NFGWS), Mr Brendan O’Mahony, has reassured local schemes.
Mr O’Mahony also warned that privately-sourced water schemes are not under threat from the impending water charges which most county councils were set to implement under the National Pricing Policy on water and waste water charges.
Mayo County Council is set to discuss this contentious issue of water charges at a special meeting of the Council on January 11 but Director of Services, Mr Seamus Granahan, has stated that only bigger users will be metered in 2007 and those on small farms are likely to see no charges until 2008.
Mr O’Mahony, who was speaking at the December meeting of the NFGWS Board, said that he wanted to scotch ‘once and for all’ the notion that upgraded schemes will be taken over by local authorities.
“Nobody has ever suggested that a blanket takeover of schemes would be in anyone’s best interest. Takeover or connection of a scheme to a public supply only arises where this is the most feasible and cost-effective upgrading route,” said Mr O’Mahony.
Under new regulations to be introduced under the Water Services legislation, Mr O’Mahony said schemes that fail to meet the required standards may also face takeover or connection to a public supply.
“Schemes that have been upgraded and are producing quality water have nothing to fear whatsoever and we will continue to set our own charges as community-owned and community-run water service providers,” said the Chairman.
While there has been a huge amount of progress in upgrading right across the county, a local difficulty over a site has disrupted work at the Glencorrib Group Water Scheme plant but efforts are currently under way to resolve the issue so work can continue.
Discussions which were taking place with the National Parks and Wildlife Service in relation to the difficulties with both the Lough Mask/Creevagh and Ballyglass/Carnacon schemes are now resolved and the Design/Build/Operate contractor, Earth Tech Ltd has now moved in to complete the final work on these schemes. These two and the Kilmovee/Urlaur water treatment are the last of Bundle One to be completed and are expected to the operational before Spring.
Work is due to begin on the 19 schemes in Bundle Two as early as May with the tenders for this work due to be lodged with the Council by March.