Mary contributed to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government, Planning and Heritage pre-legislative scrutiny Report on the Water Environment (Abstractions) Bill 2020. This legislation is important to achieve the following objectives:
- Bring Ireland into compliance with EU Water Framework Directive 2000
- Modernise the administration and legislation for water abstraction
- Provide an EPA administered scheme for the registration, licensing and control of water abstractions
- Introduce General Binding Rules to establish basic minimum standards for all water abstractions such as ensuring that an abstraction does not result in pollution of the water environment and providing that leakage must be kept to a minimum;
- Abstractions of 25 cubic metres or more per day will be required to register with the EPA via an online portal, free of charge. 25 cubic metres of water is equal to 25,000 litres.
- Licensing will be required for abstractions of 250 to 1,999 cubic metres per day deemed by the EPA to be in an area at risk from abstraction, and for all abstractions of 2,000 cubic metres or more per day.
- Give powers to Water Service Providers to take water for public water supply
- Create provisions to protect public water supply in times of drought or other emergency
- Introduce environmental protections for water supply
Mary welcomes feedback on the proposed legislation which is important for the protection and security of our public water supplies.