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EU project to support water industry in Wales and Ireland

A £2.5m EU-backed project to improve the long-term sustainability of water supply in Wales and Ireland has been announced by Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt.

The Dŵr Uisce project aims to improve the efficiency of water distribution by developing new low carbon energy-saving technology, including micro-hydropower turbines.

The technology will be trialled in both nations before being launched on the commercial market.

The project also aims to build the capacity for innovation in the water industry by investigating how new practices can meet the challenges faced in Wales and Ireland due to environmental and climate change.

Led by Trinity College Dublin in partnership with Bangor University, the five-year project has been backed by £2m of EU funds through the EU’s Ireland-Wales co-operation programme.

Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said:

“The Ireland Wales programme is a unique partnership between both our nations that provides an excellent platform to do business and address common challenges and opportunities which cut across our sea border.

“The programme is also another valuable source of EU investment, and I’m delighted that £2m of EU funds will enable Trinity College Dublin and Bangor University to take forward a project with such important potential for our water industry.”

Stephen Blair, Director of Ireland’s Southern Regional Assembly, said:

“The Dŵr Uisce project is an excellent example of a collaborative cross border project that will deliver positive economic and environmental impacts in both Ireland and Wales.”

The £75m cooperation programme aims to strengthen economic links between Wales and Ireland, and support cross-border initiatives around climate change, natural resources, innovation, heritage and tourism.

The Dŵr Uisce project is the first to be funded under the new Ireland-Wales programme, which will benefit people and communities within the south-east region of Ireland and the north and west of Wales. Dŵr Uisce are the Welsh and Irish words for ‘water.’

Dr Prysor Williams, from Bangor University's School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, said:

“The work within the Dŵr Uisce project will help achieve those environmental and economic ‘win–wins’ that are so important for Wales to meet its ambitious targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Securing this EU funding is excellent news, and we are looking forward to bringing our expertise to a project that will have significant benefits for Welsh industries, consumers, and the wider environment.”

Dr Aonghus McNabola, from Trinity College Dublin, said:

“The water industry in Ireland and Wales is the fourth most energy intensive sector in both countries and contributes heavily to carbon emissions.

“The Dŵr Uisce project will make significant advances in improving energy efficiency in this sector and will have important environmental and economic impacts on the region.”

Publication date: 31 March 2016