§ Mr. Baldry
Public water supplies already comply with the great majority of the standards in the Water Quality Regulations, which are in some respects more stringent than those in the EC drinking water directive; and, even where they do not comply with all the standards, the water 539W is still safe to drink. Water companies have drawn up programmes costing £1.8 billion over five years in order to improve quality further. These programmes are incorporated in undertakings under section 20 of the Water Act 1989 and in conditions attached to authorisations under regulation 4 of the Water Quality Regulations, and copies of these undertakings and authorisations are in the Library. The drinking water inspectorate makes regular checks to ensure that completion dates are being met. As part of its technical audit of water companies, the inspectorate will examine these programmes in detail, to assess whether they continue to represent the fastest practicable means of achieving compliance with the remaining standards.