§ Mr. French
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to ensure the continuity of water supply in times of drought.
§ Mr. Maclean
Primary responsibility for maintaining public water supplies rests with the water companies. The National Rivers Authority (NRA) also have a general statutory responsibility for conserving, redistributing and augmenting water resources and securing their proper use. My Department has for some months been holding regular meetings with the NRA, the Office of Water Services and the water companies to ensure necessary liaison and that we are aware of action (such as the consideration of applications for drought orders) that will be needed by the Department.
I have written to all Members of Parliament, including my hon. Friend, in the areas which may be affected by water shortages this summer to explain the situation in greater detail. My right hon. Friend proposes to issue a consultation paper on water conservation shortly.