FEARS have been expressed that the owners of wells and boreholes in Clare will be hit with registration fees under proposed new legislation.
Councillor Pat McMahon expressed concern about the implications for hundreds of private wells if, as expected, new legislation is introduced to licence the use of all water from private sources to comply with EU requirements.
The Newmarket Councillor has also warned that the new national water agency Irish Water will not show any leniency towards genuine hardship arrears cases in the county.
He claimed at a council meeting on Monday that he was informed by a senior council official there would be “no deals” for anyone in arrears, regardless of whether they presented a strong case.
The Fianna Fáil Councillor also sought clarification about whether the new legislation will apply to existing and or new wells and boreholes in the county.
His concern was shared by Councillor Michael Kelly, who stated that people who had sunk bore holes and wells had already incurred considerable expenses before the proposed application of any registration fee.
Director of services, Anne Haugh told councillors the authority has not been informed of any imminent legislation on the registration of wells.
However, Ms Haugh acknowledged discussion with the Water Policy Section of the Department of Environment indicated that such legislation would have to be enacted to comply with the EU Water Framework Directive. This will be primary legislation, and no work has been done yet on drafting the heads of a bill.
“The contact in the department was unable to give an indication of a starting date for preparing the legislation, but said that it will go to public consultation when drafted,” she said.