§ 67. Mr. Wallace
asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources whether the preliminary assessment of the position regarding water conservation he has received from the Water Resources Board reveals any areas where there are likely in the future to be difficulties in providing sufficient supplies of water.
§ 70. Mr. Harry Howarth
asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources whether the statement regarding water conservation submitted to him by the Water Resources Board indicates any regions where water supplies are surplus to forecast requirements.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources (Mr. Arthur Skeffington)
The preliminary survey made by the Water Resources Board shows those river authority areas which, on the available information, are "problem" areas, that is, those which are already facing supply problems or will do so in the 1970s and 1980s, and "surplus" areas, that is, those areas which have water resources surplus to their needs. The "problem" areas are the South-East England; North-West England; Northumbria; South Wales; and West Midlands areas. The "surplus" areas in relation to the "problem" areas are: for South-East England, the Great Ouse, Thames and Hampshire areas; for North-West England, the Cumberland and Lancashire areas; for the Northumbrian area, Cumberland, the Yorkshire Ouse and Scotland: for South Wales there are abundant sources which need to be redistributed: and for the West Midlands, the Severn and Wye.
§ Mr. Wallace
Is my hon. Friend aware that the Answer to this problem would most likely be a national water grid?
§ Mr. Skeffington
My hon. Friend will no doubt realise that the Minister is charged with the responsibility of bringing before the House in due course arrangements which will look at this problem from the point of view of the nation as a whole.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Is it intended to publish in rather fuller form the facts referred to in the hon. Gentleman's Answer to his hon. Friend?
§ Mr. Skeffington
My right hon. Friend would rather wait for a fuller report from the Water Resources Board. At his request this was a preliminary estimate so that we may begin to know the size of the problem to be evaluated. We want rather more detail before it can be published.