The NFGWS has led a very successful rationalisation and amalgamation strategy in the Rural Water Sector over the past two decades particularly the Design Build Operate (DBO) related rationalisation and amalgamation programme. The process allowed for a more enhanced and sustainable programme of investment and reduced ongoing operational costs. The amalgamation process facilitated the introduction of professional management structures which are recognised as being absolutely essential for the future sustainability and viability of the sector.
The NFGWS, with the support of the other Rural Water Programme (RWP) partners and the encouragement of the RWP investment programme, believed that a further process of rationalisation and amalgamation is both necessary and achievable in the immediate term. With the experience gained to date and the successful and well-tested procedures and policies developed as part of that experience, the NFGWS is perfectly placed and more than willing to lead a further process of rationalisation in the sector.
The NFGWS made a submission to the DECLG “Group Water Scheme rationalisation and amalgamation strategy 2016-2018 ” on the 21st January 2016. This was then supported in the DECLG announced Rural Water Multi-Annual Programme 2016-2018 (RWP) where it identified “rationalisation and amalgamation of group water schemes (GWSs) in order to provide a more sustainable supply of water and enhance compliance with the quality parameters of the Drinking Water Regulations” as a measure one priority, requiring the focus of the first wave of investment in the sector under the 2016-2018 programme.
NFGWS Submission “Group Water Scheme rationalisation and amalgamation strategy 2016 - 2018”
The 2016-2018 RWP supported two identified Pathfinder projects to further inform needs for the capital investment programme. The first pathfinder project involved a full amalgamation of two group water schemes in South County Offaly involved 1.5km of interconnecting pipework. The second pathfinder project involved the rationalisation of three group water schemes in County Limerick. New co-operatives were formed on both projects and funding was provided for capital works at 100%, where needed, and in addition, funding was provided towards the employment of group water scheme Managers for a three-year period.
Rationalisation and Amalgamation Pathfinder Projects
South County Offaly
3 schemes in County Limerick
Following the success of the pathfinder projects, the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021 continues to further support the process under measure 2 (b) and feasibility studies are being carried out on several counties by the Local Authorities in partnership with the NFGWS to identify potential for synergies with other schemes for rationalisation and amalgamation. Submissions will be included in the bids for the 2019-2021 Rural Water Programme.