24 January 2013, source edie newsroom
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide €200m (£168m) to support 23 water investment projects in Ireland, it was announced today.
Part of Ireland’s Water Services Investment Programme (WSIP), the projects in Dublin and in 10 counties around the country, will provide new water mains, water and wastewater treatment facilities and reservoirs, as well as measures to improve water conservation.
Minister for The Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan welcomed the funding, claiming it was an indication of the EIB’s confidence in Ireland and its recovery programme.
Reform in the Irish water sector is currently underway, which will see the responsibility for water services delivery moving from local authorities to a new public utility.
“This will fundamentally change the approach to funding capital investment in the sector in the years ahead including access to third party financing to address the considerable investment requirements of the sector,” said Hogan.
“These reforms will benefit individual householders, but will also attract industries with high water usage like agri-food, pharma-chem and IT. With global demand for water due to rise by 40% in just 20 years, Ireland will be well positioned to attract foreign and indigenous investment, creating real potential for new jobs within the country.”
The water investment initiative will include the replacement of more than 300km of water mains in Dublin City, South Tipperary, Galway and Limerick.
In addition, the investment will increase drinking water supply through two new reservoirs in Kerry and North Tipperary.
Of the 23 projects, four aim to reduce water loss in the distribution networks, seven relate to improvements in water supply structure and 12 relate to improvements in the wastewater infrastructure.
European Investment Bank vice president Jonathan Taylor said: “Investment in the Irish water infrastructure will significantly enhance water conservation measures, improve drinking water quality and reduce risks of pollution.
“The European Investment Bank recognises the considerable challenges and investment needed in the sector and is pleased to provide the first EIB support for investment in water infrastructure in Ireland for over a decade.”
Following agreement of the €200m loan, a first tranche of €100m will support immediate investment and a second tranche will follow as the investment programme progresses.
During 2012, the European Investment Bank provided €504m for long-term investment in Ireland.