This year’s annual Rural Water Services Conference takes place in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, on Thursday 7 September. Organised by the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS), in association with the Local Authority Services National Training Group (LASNTG), the conference is being held as part of Rural Water Week 2023, which runs this week, 4–8 September.
Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Kieran O’Donnell TD, will be delivering an opening address ahead of a packed day of discussion.
Held each September, the Conference brings together those contributing to the delivery of drinking water services in rural Ireland, particularly the group water scheme sector, for which the NFGWS is the representative boRural Wdy. Throughout the day, a variety of speakers and experts discuss pertinent and timely topics that impact those who rely on the ongoing delivery of potable water in rural Ireland.
In recent months, we have seen the introduction of new drinking water regulations and water abstraction legislation, along with increasing challenges brought about by climate change. Other ongoing policy developments will also have significant impacts for those involved in drinking water services.
This year’s conference theme, 'Embracing Change – Opportunities and Challenges for the GWS Sector’, focuses on this transformative period and will cover many aforementioned aspects. It is also the 25th anniversary of the NFGWS’s incorporation as a co-operative. The co-operative structure and ethos is of great importance to the group water scheme sector and will be the focus of the conference’s afternoon session.
Speaking ahead of the Rural Water Services Conference, NFGWS chief executive officer, Barry Deane, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Minister Kieran O’Donnell to this year’s Rural Water Services Conference, an important date on the calendar for all those involved in drinking water delivery throughout rural Ireland.
“The conference provides an opportunity for everyone to come together to discuss and learn about important issues affecting the group water scheme sector and other drinking water suppliers. Whether it be changes in legislation, source protection or other important developments, events like this are crucial to the ongoing success of the sector.”