§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he plans to take to ensure that, in seeking to avoid hosepipe bans, water companies take account of the implications for aquifer resources; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Angela Eagle
Abstractions by water companies from aquifers and surface water sources have to comply with the maximum quantity and any other operational conditions specified in the licence for each abstraction. The Environment Agency has made plain that it will expect water companies to have in place a full range of demand management measures, including the imposition of hosepipe bans, before applying for variations in abstraction licence conditions under drought orders or permits.
The Government announced on 19 May 1997 its intention to review the water abstraction licensing system, and to introduce legislation requiring each water company to agree a detailed publicly available drought contingency plan with the Environment Agency.