Funding announced for rural water programme

THE PEOPLE of Kilkenny are set to benefit from €943,000 in funding from the Rural Water Programme.

THE PEOPLE of Kilkenny are set to benefit from €943,000 in funding from the Rural Water Programme.

The programme provides grant aid for Local Authorities and Group Schemes for water and waste water upgrades. The grant aid is for schemes for water and waste upgrades.

Director of Services, Philip O’Neill informed members of the details of the programme at the monthly meeting adding that it was the highest allocation for the past three years.

Grant aid for group schemes is generally up to 85% of the cost of the works. Grant aid for public schemes is 75% of the cost of the works with the remainder being supplemented by Kilkenny County Council from devlopement contributions. The grant allocation is divided as follows: Total Group Water Schemes Allocation (€388,000), Pilot Group Sewerage Scheme (€105,000), Small Public Schemes (€337,000).

Mr O’Neill informed members of progress on the Stoneyford bypass watermain which involves one kilometre of pipeline which is due to be completed next month. Phase 1 of the Ballyhale Wastewater Treatment is also due to be completed in May.

The meeting heard that the department’s focus in the Rural Water Programme for 2013 is addressing water quality issues in private group schemes and water and waste water quality compliance issues in public schemes.

Under the Pilot Group Scheme the Council has been approved for funding of a pilot scheme based on the increased grant level announced by the Department in December 2012. The scheme is based on €6,500 per house or 75% of the cost of the scheme whichever is the lesser. Kilkenny County Council is one of the few Local Authorities to benefit from this allocation in 2013. The effectiveness of the pilot scheme will be reviewed at the end of the year.

Under the Small Schemes Programme will be the development of an additional new source for the Gowran/Goresbridge/Paulstown supply. This will facilitate the connection of eight housing estates in Gowran and Paulstown, currently fed off private wells, to the public water supply. The main benefits of the allocation are improving water quality in a number of schemes, water mains upgrades resulting in greater water schemes, connection of additional housing estates to the public water supply and completion of upgrade works to waste water treatment plants.

Cllr John Brennan (Fine Gael) welcomed ‘the huge investment to public water and sewerage schemes’. “At the end of the say clean drinking water is a basic human right and I would like to thank all the staff for their help’.

Cllr Cora Long (Fianna Fail) pointed out that there were problems with leakages and burst pipes every second day and asked were there any plans to put new pipes down. Mr O’Neill replied that some of the water mains were between 50 and 60 years old.

“The unaccountable water is better than the national average but we have to keep on investing in the water mains replacement. In general a very positive picture is starting to emerge,” he said.

Cllr Tom Maher also commended Mr O’Neill and their staff on the work adding that there was ‘great credit due’. Howver Cllr Eamon Alyward (Fianna Fail) informed the meeting that he knew of situations where you have houses where you can’t even flush a toilet.

When putting the issue of water in perspective Cllr. Maurice Shortall (Labour) noted at the April meeting of Kilkenny County Council “Water is the first thing we need coming into the world and the last thing we need leaving it”.

Cllr. Shortall who is a member of the Rural Water Monitoring Committee was pleased to see funding flow to the north of the county to the tune of €208,000. The schedule of works breaks down as follows: Castlecomer Manganese Works (€30,000), Ballyragget Ultra Violet Disinfection (€30,000), Freshford Chlorination, Pumps, Injection Points (€25,000), Urlingford-Johnstown WSS (€70,000), Yellow Road Variable Speed Pumps (€15,000), Gorteen PH Adjustment (€30,000) and Massford Pumping Station (€8,000).