§ Mr. Ancram
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to mitigate the effects of water shortages both on consumers and on river and wetland environments.
§ Mr. Maclean
Primary responsibility for maintaining public water supplies rests with the water companies. The National Rivers Authority (NRA) also has a general statutory responsibility for conserving, redistributing and augmenting water resources and securing their proper use. This responsibility extends, in particular, to protecting river and wetland environment. My Department has for some months been holding regular meetings with the NRA, the Office of Water Services and the water192W companies to ensure necessary liaison and that we arc aware of action (such as the consideration of applications for drought orders) that will be needed by the Department.
I am writing to all Members of Parliament in the areas which may be affected by water shortages this summer to explain the situation in greater detail.