More than 1,800 schools are to receive grants, averaging €5,348 per school, to carry out works to reduce water usage and consequently water charges.
Up to 2,000 of the country’s 4,000 primary and post primary schools applied for water conservation grants in the last academic year.
It was understood that these grants, advertised in October 2009, would be made available at the beginning of the summer and the work would be carried out over the holidays.
However, it was not until this academic year (October 21) that Tánaiste and Minister for Education & Skills Mary Coughlan announced that 1,823 schools had been approved for a slice of the €9.75m fund allocated for the grants.
Averaging €5,348 per school, the money will cover the costs of installing percussion spray taps, thermostatic mixing valves and water displacement devices.
“These works will reduce the water charges being paid by schools and I am delighted to be able to provide boards of management and trustees with a means to do so,” Minister Coughlan said.
According to the letter to schools from the department, an average 250-pupil school with water conservation measures in place paying €2.16 per cubic meter could save almost two-thirds of the €3,335 bill faced by a school without such measures and where water is not used efficiently by staff and students.
“I would ask schools to ensure that they get best value for money on prices for jobs in the more competitive construction market,” the Minister added.
However, the INTO pointed out that the varying water rates between different councils mean that some schools are facing much higher charges than others in neighbouring counties.
An INTO survey revealed that, for example, primary schools in Co Mayo pay just €0.91 per cubic metre for water supply, compared to €2.39 charged by Roscommon Co Council.
The standing charges in different local authority areas also vary widely, from €100 a year in Thurles Town Council to €212 in Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council. (Source: Irish Examiner)
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