HC Deb 24 February 1944 vol 397 c966
34. Mr Molson

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the need for accurate information regarding water resources, he will arrange for the immediate resumption of the work of the inland water survey which has been suspended owing to the war.

Mr. Willink

The work of the Inland Water Survey consists of collecting, collating and publishing records of measurements of the flow of rivers and, in conjunction with the Geological Survey, corresponding information concerning underground water. I regret that a general resumption of this long-term task is not practicable at the present time, since the central and local personnel concerned are for the most part otherwise engaged on work closely associated with our immediate war effort. I share my hon. Friend's view of the importance of resuming this work as soon as practicable, and indeed this is one of the matters which has been under close consideration in connection with water policy generally. Meanwhile, much useful further information on underground water has been secured by the Geological Survey arising out of direct war needs, and this and other information will be available when the time comes for a resumption of the work of the Inland Water Survey as a whole on, I hope, a larger scale.

Mr. Molson

Does not my right hon. Friend realise how difficult it will be to prepare a national water plan unless the data are available, and that any prolonged interruption of the collection of data greatly reduces the value of the information?

Mr. Willink

A good many valuable activities are interrupted at the moment.

Sir William Davison

Would it not be possible to publish a preliminary report?

Mr. Bossom

Could not the information be published as soon as possible, because housing authorities would find it valuable?

Mr. Willink

I will consider whether the partial information would be of value to them.