Spending on public and waste water services boosted

Budget 2022: Increase of 12% linked to need to provide infrastucture for home building

The largest portion of this year’s budget allocation for the sector,  €1.46bn,  goes to Irish Water for domestic services. File photograph: The Irish Times

The largest portion of this year’s budget allocation for the sector, €1.46bn, goes to Irish Water for domestic services. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

Irish Water will get significantly more money next year as it battles to provide water and sewerage services for the Government’s plans to build tens of thousand of houses.

In all, spending next year will rise to €1.57 billion, up 12 per cent, though the extra €171 million fell short of demands for an extra €500 million voiced by construction quarters in recent days.

Housing is the Government’s “absolute priority”, said Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath. “We will invest €1.6 billion in water services next year, much of which will help to unlock further housing supply and improve the sustainability of the water network.”

Between now and 2025, nearly €6 billion will be spent to upgrade the State’s ageing pipe network, including nearly €876 million in capital spending alone next year, up from €722 million.

The largest portion – €1.46 billion – goes to Irish Water for domestic services. “This will ensure the continued operation, repair and upgrading of the country’s water and waste water infrastructure,” said the department.

A further €112 million will be spent on rural services and to deal with lead piping as well as problematic stand-alone waste water treatment systems in housing estates.

Ringsend treatment plant

Some €148 million of the €171 million funding increase will go towards projects such the upgrade of the Ringsend treatment plant and a big sewer project in Athlone.

Some €15 million of the increase will go to domestic services and €5 million will be spent on new services in villages not on the public network.

The Construction Industry Federation, which had called on the Government to increase Irish Water’s capital allocation by €2 billion each year, said provision of close to €1.6 billion in 2021 was welcome.

Still, it called for a “significant optimisation” of how Irish Water operates on the ground with construction companies.

“More money will not equate to more homes unless Irish Water radically improves how it engages with companies,” said the federation.