HC Deb 06 June 1961 vol 641 cc860-1
19. Mr. Pym

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when the Central Advisory Water Committee is expected to complete its study of water conservation, and to report.

Mr. Brooke

I understand that the sub-committee is considering the terms of its report. I cannot say just how soon it will be completed and presented.

Mr. Pym

While drawing some encouragement from my right hon. Friend's reply, may I ask him whether he is aware that several parishes in Cambridgeshire have already run out of water, which, in May, is a very serious and grave state of affairs? Does not he think that we should begin urgent works straight away in order to cope with the rising demand for water? If we do not, the situation may get out of hand.

Mr. Brooke

I was very sorry to learn that two villages in my hon. Friend's constituency ran out of water last month. I do not think that there was any overall shortage of water. I think that something went wrong with the distribution arrangements. As my hon. Friend knows, I am at this moment seeking to bring about a regrouping of water undertakings in the county which, I hope, will go a long way to preventing a recurrence of such difficulty. However, that is a matter which will be going to a public inquiry shortly and I must not prejudge it.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Will my right hon. Friend make sure that we do not get into the state of affairs concerning water conservation that we did concerning land drainage before the introduction of the Land Drainage Bill in such a way that the Ministry gets involved in undertakings to interested bodies to such an extent that Parliament cannot get a word in edgeways?

Mr. Brooke

I very much hope that it may fall to me to bring forward a water conservation Bill in due course. When that happens, I shall be extremely anxious to have the support of hon. Members on both sides of the House in making it as good a Bill as possible.