Funding to be made available for water wells

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Friday, February 10th, 2012
Sinn Fein Councillors Colman Burns and Anthony Flynn have welcomed the news that financial assistance for private bore wells will now be available to householders in areas where no water main is near their home. Councillors Burns and Flynn facilitated a meeting in Silverbridge Resource Centre in January 2011 which provided the public with the opportunity to hear first-hand about the review and give their views on the proposals to Department Officials. Speaking to Newry Times Councillor Burns said, “The consultation document set out a number of options. The first option was to maintain the existing policy with a total Reasonable Cost Allowance of £10,000 per existing property. The second option was to increase this figure to a higher level. The third option was the replacement of the allowance with a grant, paid to NI Water, to cover a proportion of the cost of a mains requisition to serve individual households or groups of houses. The forth and final option was to introduce a grant scheme to provide financial assistance for the construction of private bore wells, rather than assistance for a water main extension.” Councillor Flynn, speaking about the consultation exercise said, “The public meeting in Silverbridge last year was held on a very cold night in January, yet it was very evident from the amount of people who attended that this was a very important issue to many householders as well as those hoping to build homes in the future. We were very fortunate to get the opportunity to give our opinion as this was one of only three meetings in the six counties. The other two were held in the Glens of Antrim at Glenwhirry and in Greencastle. We look forward to a positive announcement in the coming months for the many people in rural areas who have an inadequate water supply.” Councillor Burns explained, “Since the outcome of the consultation, officials from the Department of Regional Development and the Department of Agriculture are working together to develop the scheme. The proposal is that the scheme will provide a grant for householders to procure a contractor to construct a bore well and any necessary treatment. We would hope that all finances for feasibility studies to determine a suitable site for a bore well would be included in the scheme.” It is hoped that Executive approval for the final scheme will be sought in March 2012 with a one year pilot scheme coming into operation in summer 2012.
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