The new Rainwater Harvesting Scheme opened for applications on Tuesday, 1st March. The scheme will give grant aid to farmers to help them invest in rainwater harvesting facilities and related equipment. The twin aims of the scheme are to conserve water by maximising use of rainfall run off from farm sheds and to reduce water costs on farms. Collected rainwater cannot be used for domestic purposes.
Grant aid is only available for the collection and storage of rainwater harvested directly from shed roofs. The scheme will remain open until 31 December 2013. It has been allocated funding of €8million. As the funding is capped, a priority system will be applied to all applications. Top priority will be given to young, trained dairy farmers because dairy farms require high volumes of water for lactating cows and for washing.
The scheme will provide grant aid at a rate of 40% up to a grant ceiling of €10,000. The maximum investment (total spend before grant is received ) that is eligible for grant aid is €25,000 per holding. The minimum is €2,000. For all applications the 40% grant aid will be calculated on the lowest of the following amounts:
- The reference costings of the department.
- The total of invoices marked “paid”, net of VAT, together with costs if any of a farmer’s own contribution in terms of labour and machinery.
- The cost of the project as proposed by the applicant on the application.
Where some or all of the work is carried out by the farmer or family members, then the hours worked and the relevant dates must be submitted, broken down for each approved investment item. Where own machinery is used, the hours worked and the dates involved and the hourly rate charged must be shown. Payment will be made if the hours claimed and the rates charged for the machinery are deemed appropiate by the department. Where an invoice or receipt is not denominated in euro, evidence of the exchange must be provided.
The scheme will open for applications in a series of rounds of funding. All applications received in a round will be assessed under the priority system. Any applications that is not successful in a particular round will be automatically carried forward to the next assessment.
Applications will be assessed under these criteria, which are ranked here in order of priority:
- Applicants whose farms are regarded as requiring heavy usage, e.g dairy farmers.
- Applicants whose proposed costs are lower than the Departments refernces costs.
- Applicants that involve installing a water treatment unit or a storage tank with treatment unit.
- Young trained farmers.
- Applicants with any part of their holding (owned or leased) in a disadvantage area.
All rainwater storage tanks must have either planning permission or a formal exemption from a local authority. In practice, this will mean planning permission. All other equipment that is eligible for grant aid under the scheme does not require planning permission or exemption.
The scheme is open to farmers who own or lease the site proposed and who declared a minimum of 5ha under the Single Payment Scheme in the current or preceding year. Applicants must also have between 80 production units and 1,000 production units in total at the time of application.
All works must be completed within two years of the date of approval. According to the terms and conditions, extensions to this deadline will not be granted on force majeure or other grounds.
Investment Items Eligible for Grant Aid
- Guttering on existing buildings (round and box) including downpipes.
- Filter Mechanism: fine and coarse filters. Maximum of one filter per downpipe, appropiately protected.
- Buried drains to direct rainwater from gutters to rain storage tank, including manholes with covers.
- Sump tanks and sump pumps for distribution of rainwater to overground storage tanks.
- Tanks for rainwater storage must be covered. This includes precast conrete cast in situ, fibreglass and plastic, both under and over ground, all with covers.
- Water Treatment devices using either chlorination or UV treatment, appropiately protected.
- Water meters for piggeries to prevent increase in water usage due to rainwater harvesting