Individual Well Grants
Approximately 11% of Irish people get their water from private water supplies. Grants are available under the Rural Water Programme for the carrying out of improvement works to a private water supply (this means a water supply providing water intended for human consumption and domestic purposes that serves only one house). The relevant Regulations are Housing (Private Water Supply Financial Assistance) Regulations 2020 (SI No. 192 of 2020).
The objective of the grant scheme is to assist households dependent on private individual water supplies who are incurring capital expenditure to:
- Provide a piped supply of water for domestic purposes, or
- Remedy serious deficiencies in an existing supply of water for domestic purposes
The key features of the scheme are:
The grant payable for rehabilitation works is 85% of approved costs subject to a maximum of 3,000 euro.
The grant payable for the provision of a new well is 85% of approved costs subject to a maximum of 5,000 euro, where the housing authority agrees that this is the most appropriate solution.
In recognising the role of the grant in improving water quality, the water quality treatment element (typically filtration and Ultra Violet treatment) qualifies for 100% funding up to a maximum of 1,000 euro. This can be claimed on its own or in addition to either the grant for rehabilitation works or the grant for a new well.
The minimum grant threshold is 750 euro.
The scheme is administered by Sligo County Council on behalf of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for Sligo County.
Sample documents containing the terms and conditions for this scheme can be found here under Wells.
Drinking water quality in private wells
Unlike public water supplies or group water scheme supplies, water services authorities do not test drinking water quality of private water supplies. Testing your well water is your responsibility and should be done regularly to make sure your drinking water quality is high. People with VTEC (a form of E.coli) are more than four times more likely than the general population to have consumed untreated water from private water supplies. Maintenance and servicing of wells is also very important for reducing the risk of contamination.
You can find more information on testing water quality or wells maintenance on the EPA website. If you have concerns about the quality of your private water supply contact your local authority immediately.
Drilling private wells
If you are considering boring your own well, it is important the well is constructed properly, sealed against pollution and disinfected. Guidelines on constructing a private water supply are available on the Institute of Geologists of Ireland website
The scheme does not apply to houses to which a public or group scheme water supply has already been provided or can reasonably be provided.
Works carried out before a prior inspection by the local authority do not qualify under the scheme when the provision or improvement of a water supply to that house, has been paid within the previous 7 years.
Works qualify under the scheme where they are undertaken to provide or improve a supply of water for domestic purposes in a house and they consist of one or more of the following -
- drilling or commissioning a new well,
- rehabilitating an existing well, including deepening or relining an existing bore or the removal of silt,
- providing or upgrading a supply of water from a surface water source,
- the construction or improvement of a pumphouse, piping or other facilities in connection with the supply of water,
- the provision or improvement of mechanical or electrical equipment or facilities in connection with the supply of water, or
- the provision or improvement of facilities or equipment for the treatment of water.
Works do not qualify where, in the opinion of the local authority,
- they have an approved cost of less than €750,
- the proposed works exceed what would be required to secure an adequate supply of water for domestic purposes,
- they relate to the installation or improvement of plumbing inside a house,
- they relate to the provision or up-grading of a supply of water for non-domestic purposes,
- they are carried out before the local authority’s prior inspection takes place
The local authority will carry out a prior inspection to -
- determine eligibility and whether the proposed works qualify, and
- in the case of an application relating to the improvement of an existing supply, determine whether such supply is seriously deficient.
Where the applicant is not, at the time of application, able to provide full details of the proposed works (for example, in the case of a new well), the local authority will only confirm whether or not the applicant is eligible for a grant.
The applicant will be required to submit three quotations for all works for the Authority to determine the most appropriate contractor.
The authority will consider whether the relevant works qualify, and determine an approved cost and amount of grant, when full details of such works are provided.
The approved cost, the amount on the basis of which the amount of grant is calculated, is determined by the local authority. It is an estimate of the reasonable cost of qualifying works.
CERTIFICATE OF PROVISIONAL APPROVAL
Where the local authority has
- carried out a prior inspection to its satisfaction, and
- determined that the applicant is eligible, the proposed works qualify, and all other terms and conditions of the scheme are complied with, and
- determined the approved cost and the amount of grant, it will issue a Certificate of Provisional Approval to the applicant.
CARRYING OUT OF WORKS
After receipt of a Certificate of Provisional Approval, the works concerned may commence. The works must be carried out by a contractor registered for VAT who holds a current Form C2 or tax clearance certificate from the Revenue Commissioners.
On completion of the works, payment of grant may be claimed by the applicant by signing the declaration incorporated in the Certificate of Provisional Approval, and returning it together with receipts in respect of qualifying works to the local authority.
PAYMENT OF GRANT
Following receipt of a claim for payment, the local authority will carry out an inspection of the works to establish that -
- the works proposed in the application have been satisfactorily undertaken and completed, and
- a water supply which is satisfactory in both quality and quantity has been provided.
Once this is established, the grant will be paid.
Where the local authority is of the opinion that the works have not been undertaken in accordance with the application, or have not been satisfactorily completed, the authority may -
- determine a revised approved cost,
- withhold payment of the grant until the applicant carries out such alterations to the existing works or such additional works as may be notified by the authority.
Where the local authority is of the opinion that the actual cost of the qualifying works is less than the approved cost, a revised approved cost will be determined.