The European Investment Bank (EIB) loan has announced that it will finance several water projects in Ireland through a 25-year loan worth €200m.
A total of 23 projects, located in Dublin and ten counties within Ireland, have been marked for improvement with the bank's support.
Ireland proposes to use the EIB loan to support improvement works that will be undertaken as part of its Water Services Investment Programme (WSIP).
The improvement works for the selected projects include provision of new water mains and water and wastewater treatment facilities and reservoirs, alongside measures to improve water conservation.
Ireland Minister for The Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD said the extension of support indicates the Bank's confidence in the Irish State and its recovery programme and marks an optimistic sign for obtaining third party financing in the long-term.
"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," Hogan 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", said Hogan.
Under the new loan, over 300km of old water mains will be replaced in Dublin city, South Tipperary, Galway and Limerick and 28km of new water mains in Kildare and 13km in Longford will be laid.
In addition, six new water treatment plants will be built in Kildare, North Tipperary, Kerry, Galway and Roscommon and drinking water supply will be augmented by developing one new reservoir in Kerry and North Tipperary.
Out of the 23 projects, four pertain to water conservation, seven focus on water supply infrastructure enhancement and the rest of the 12 projects relate to wastewater infrastructure improvement.
EIB vice president Jonathan Taylor 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".
EIB will release the first tranche of €100m immediately to initiate works and release the second tranche as the programme moves forward.
Image: Ireland Minister Phil Hogan is optimistic that new water reforms will benefit individual householders and attract industries with high water usage. Photo: Courtesy of Kilkenny Leader Partnership.