24 April 2014

ONeill launches Borewells Scheme for rural homes


Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced the opening of a grant scheme to help isolated rural homes in the north not served by a mains water supply.

The Rural Borewells Scheme aims to provide access to affordable safe drinking water in rural homes, built before 2000, that are beyond the reach of the public network. Up to £10,000 is available towards borewell project costs with applications sought from owners and landlords of domestic rural properties. The scheme is expected to run for four years, subject to demand.

During a visit to Jack and Maureen Smyth’s home near Draperstown, County Derry, Minister O’Neill said:

“People who live in isolated rural areas often face poor access to services. Despite an existing allowance of up to £10,000 from the Department of Regional Development (DRD) and NI Water, many householders throughout the north find the cost of accessing the public water mains network is currently so great that they simply cannot afford it.

"Working in partnership with the DRD we have developed this innovative scheme to provide these homes with affordable access to a wholesome water supply. It will make a huge difference in the lives of these rural householders and also demonstrates what can be achieved through government departments working together.”

The Rural Borewells Scheme is one of a range of initiatives included in DARD’s ‘Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework’ to help those living in rural areas facing difficulties with access to services which are freely available elsewhere.

Funding for the Borewells Scheme is provided by DRD and will be administered by DARD. Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: “This initiative could benefit isolated rural dwellings not currently served by a water main. This innovative cross-departmental scheme will help provide affordable access to a wholesome water supply for those who are outside the reach of the public network.

“Working with our colleagues in the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development this scheme can help address longstanding concerns about isolated dwellings where the cost of extending the mains network is prohibitive.”

Further information on the scheme is available on the DARD website at http://www.dardni.gov.uk/rural-development-funding-rural-borewells-scheme

To request an application pack please contact DARD Rural Development Division on 028 8224 7727 or email Ruralborewells@dardni.gov.uk

Applications must be returned to DARD, Sperrin House, Sedan Avenue, Lisnamallard, Omagh, County Tyrone by 4.00pm on Friday 29 June 2012.

Notes to editors:

1. The grant is primarily aimed at properties that were built before 2000 and occupied as principal residences. Evidence will be required that the cost of a public water mains requisition exceeds the existing reasonable cost allowance by £500 or more.

2. At present NI Water (NIW) currently provides a Reasonable Cost Allowance of around £2,000 per property to extend the public water main. For properties built before 2000, the Department supplements this allowance to a total of £10,000 per property. However, this still left many rural dwellings with fairly substantial costs to connect.

3. A review was undertaken to consider how DRD could provide financial assistance to allow householders to get a mains extension or have access to some other wholesome water supply. The outcome of the review supported the introduction of a grant scheme to provide private borewells.

4. Properties that are ‘not served’ are those that do not have a water main in the public road nearest to the property (or within 100m of the nearest access point.)



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