HC Deb 15 November 1938 vol 341 cc674-5
36. Mr. Johnston

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps have been taken since the publication of the In- terim Report on water supplies in Scotland by the Committee on Scottish Health Services, in March, 1934, to secure a more economical and effective use of the available water resources in Scotland, particularly as this problem has now an added urgency in view of the proposals to evacuate populations from the industrial to the rural areas in time of war; and whether, pending a report from the Inland Water Survey Committee, he will take steps to co-ordinate existing supplies for domestic use?

Mr. Colville

After the publication of the Interim Report the Department of Health called for a return from water undertakers giving particulars of existing and of possible new sources of domestic water supply. The information secured was of great value in considering the allocation of the grant of the grant of £137,500 available under the Rural Water Supplies Act. Subsequently, in connection with the work of the Inland Water Survey Committee, local authorities and electricity undertakings were asked to supply certain information regarding water resources generally. The Department have impressed upon local authorities the desirability of co-ordinating the water supplies in adjacent districts and will keep the point in mind in connection with the inquiry into needs and rating resources now being collected by arrangement between the Department and the County Councils Association.

Mr. Johnston

Apart from sending a circular to the local authorities asking them to bear in mind the desirability of co-ordinating their water supplies for domestic consumers, has the right hon. Gentleman and his Department done anything to ensure that the present available water supplies are equitably distributed?

Mr. Colville

Yes, Sir. The right hon. Gentleman is wrong in assuming that only one circular has been sent out and that there has been no further contacts. The Department are constantly expressing to the local authorities their views on the question of co-ordination, and as I have said, an inquiry is now going on.

Mr. Levy

How does the right hon. Gentleman expect to get an equitable distribution of water supplies unless there is a proper authority and proper planning for the purpose?