HC Deb 15 February 1966 vol 724 c1085
5. Sir D. Renton

asked the Minister of Technology what progress has been made in research into the large scale desalination of sea water for purposes of public water supply; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Cousins

I cannot add anything further at present to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Murton) on 26th October.

Sir D. Renton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in view of the very large prospective increased demand on the public water supply, any money that he spends on research into desalinisation will repay itself many times? Will he please press on with this and give the House some idea of what is being done at present?

Mr. Cousins

I am certainly very conscious of the importance of this. It may not have escaped the notice of hon. Members that, when reporting on this issue, I mentioned that it was not just the arid countries, the deserts, which needed water, but the industrial countries. In some parts of this country, we are short of water. We are pressing on with this matter, and we have discussed with Weir Westgarth and others the things that can be done. It should be remembered that a design study for a 30 million gallons a day plant using flash distillation techniques has been completed in conjunction with that company and that we are pressing on to see whether this is really a commercial proposition.