It is government policy to encourage development of rural towns and villages due to the environmental, climate and social benefits for society including people living close to services, reducing car dependency and strengthening local communities.
As more people work from home, living in rural villages and towns has also become more attractive for many people and there is huge demand.
However, the capacity to support people is lacking due to decades of underinvestment in water supply and wastewater infrastructure - blocking housing and business development.
Planning permission for 42 houses in Co Kilkenny was recently refused by the planning authority, for example, due to water supply capacity issues.
In 2021, the EPA found that substantial investment is needed to bring deficient wastewater treatment systems in many rural areas up to standard.
HELP US INVESTIGATE
We want to investigate the key blockages in upgrading water and wastewater infrastructure and identify the key towns and villages whose housing supply has been impacted by delays.
We also want to find out if alternative solutions such as the use of wetland ecosystems to clean wastewater are being examined by local and national authorities as potential solutions in planning applications.
If you want to make a contribution to help this investigation happen, click the 'Fund This Proposal' button. Noteworthy investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.