Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins has asked the Environment Minister Phil Hogan to commit to introducing grants for domestic rain water harvesting ahead of the introduction of water charges.


Questioning the Minister at the Oireachtas Environment Committee today, Deputy Collins said a scheme, similar to the retrofit grants introduced by the previous government, must be provided to support households in investing in water conservation systems.


Deputy Collins said, “Ireland has a plentiful supply of rain water and we are not doing enough to exploit this.  At the moment people are using drinking water to wash their cars, water their plants and flush their toilets. By harvesting rain water instead, they would be conserving drinking water and radically reducing their household water bills into the future.


“With Minister Hogan making plans to slap water charges on every household in the country from 2014, he must look at innovative ways of using our natural resources to help minimise the cost on households.  This must include a grant scheme to help households to install rain water harvesting systems. It would allow families to use rain water for much of their household needs, thereby reducing future water bills and helping to conserve expensive treated tap water nationally. 


“The long-term economic benefits of this investment would far outweigh the initial cost. Not only would it create jobs in construction and installation over the next number of years, it would also help to radically reduce the unnecessary usage of treated tap water across the country.


“I have asked Minister Hogan to prioritise this so that any grant scheme will be in place well in advance of the introduction of charges. Households must be given the opportunity to budget for such an investment and to complete the necessary work before they are hit with water bills.”