New drinking water regulations introduced by the Government under an EU directive will ensure Irish drinking water supplies remain "wholesome and clean", the Minister for Housing has said.
Darragh O'Brien announced on Wednesday that the new regulations will come into effect this month.
Key measures included in the regulations include: minimum hygiene requirements for materials that come into contact with water; minimum requirements for treatment chemicals and filter media that come into contact with water; and increasing access to water intended for human consumption — in particular for vulnerable and marginalised groups.
Relevant authorities, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Commission for the Regulation of Utilities, will oversee the activities of water suppliers to ensure compliance with the new regulations.
Speaking on the new regulations, Mr O’Brien noted that water is a "basic right", and that access to good quality drinking water is a "key public service".
"These new regulations will add additional quality measures to continue to ensure that our drinking water remains wholesome and clean.
"Guided by an Expert Working Group of all relevant stakeholders providing professional advice, we have developed – and will now implement – regulations which will ensure we comply with EU standards and, crucially, provide high quality water supplies to the people of Ireland.”
Minister of State Malcolm Noonan also welcomed the protections.
"Access to clean, safe water to drink is a basic need for everyone. I welcome these enhanced protections, which bring us further in ensuring the highest quality from source to tap by improving standards, updating monitoring parameters, assessing leaks in the system and introducing penalties for pollution or contamination of a drinking water source.”