§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment under what circumstances it is permissible for mains water supplies to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes(a) under glass, (b) for market gardening and (c) for conventional agriculture, respectively; and under what statutory rule or guidance water authorities may issue licences for use of ground and surface water, respectively, for purposes (b) and (c).
§ Mr. Maclean
The supply of mains water to customers is entirely a matter for water undertakers. Under section 55 of the Water Industry Act 1991 they must supply water to any non-domestic premises unless doing so would be unreasonbly expensive or would affect their duty to supply water to domestic premises. A mains supply to non-domestic premises may be used for any purpose unless specifically prohibited by the provisions of a drought order.
Licences for the abstraction of ground or surface water are issued by the National Rivers Authority, using the Water Resources (Licences) Regulations 1965 in conjunction with section 38 of the Water Resources Act 1991.