The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to provide a €200m loan to help finance 23 water projects around Ireland, including new water mains, water and waste-water treatment facilities and reservoirs.
The EIB loan will be used to support improvements in Ireland’s Water Services Investment Programme (WSIP), as well as helping to tackle water conservation.
The Minister for The Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan, TD, has welcomed the move from the EIB.
"It 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 said.
Referring to the transfer of water services functions from local authorities to the new public utility Irish Water, Hogan said this will change the approach to funding capital investment in the sector in the years ahead, including access to third-party financing.
"These reforms will benefit individual householders, but will also attract industries with high water usage, like agri-food, pharma-chem and IT," he said.
In all, 23 projects are set to benefit from the EIB investment. This will include the replacement of more than 300km of old water mains in Dublin City, south Tipperary, Galway and Limerick.
Two new reservoirs are also planned for Kerry and north Tipperary in order to increase the supply of drinking water.
Six new waste-water treatment plants are destined for the counties of Kildare, Tipperary, Kerry, Galway and Roscommon.
Additionally, 28km of new water mains will be laid in Kildare and 13km in Longford.
Four of the projects will 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. The remaining 12 projects relate to the improvement of waste-water infrastructure.
The EIB will provide a 25-year loan as part of the investment programme.