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The European Investment Bank is to provide funding of loan €200m to support improvements in Ireland’s Water Services Investment Programme (WSIP) by financing 23 projects in Dublin and 10 counties around the country to provide new water mains, water and wastewater treatment facilities and reservoirs, as well as measures to improve water conservation.

The water investment initiative also includes replacement of over 300km of old water mains in Dublin City, South Tipperary, Galway and Limerick. In addition the project will increase drinking water supply through two new reservoirs in Kerry and North Tipperary.

Waste water treatment will be enhanced through six new treatment plants in Kildare, North Tipperary, Kerry, Galway and Roscommon. Three local schemes will specifically ensure safe drinking water supply and 28km of new water mains will be laid in Kildare and 13km in Longford.

Four of the projects relate to water conservation with the primary objective being to reduce water loss in the distribution networks. Seven of the projects relate to improvements in water supply infrastructure. A particular focus of investment in this area is addressing risks to public health by the improvement of the quality and supply of drinking water. The remaining twelve projects relate to the improvement of wastewater infrastructure. Investment in this area supports compliance with with statutory requirements and priorities identified in River Basin Management Plans (as required under the EU Water Framework Directive).

The European Investment Bank will provide a 25 year loan and enable quicker implementation of the investment programme. As for all EIB Irish sovereign lending the loan is signed with National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) acting on behalf of the Irish state. 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.

Minister for The Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD said the funding “is an indication of the Bank’s confidence in the Irish State and our recovery programme and is a good signal for securing third party financing in the future.”

He added: “A programme of water sector reform is currently underway in Ireland, 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. 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 percent in just 20 years, Ireland will be well positioned to attract foreign and indigenous investment, creating real potential for new jobs within the country.”

Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President said 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.”