§ Mr. David Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what contingency plans he has for making water available in the event of the interruption of supplies caused by the millennium non-compliance of computer systems in the water industry; and if he will make a statement. 240W
§ Mr. Meale
In accordance with the Security and Emergency Measures Direction issued by my Department last year, all water and sewerage companies are required to have plans in place to deal with any emergency. The new plans are required to be independently certified and must be with the Department by 1 April. Water companies expect to complete the testing and any rectification of embedded IT systems by the end of July and they will also test and, if necessary, upgrade their contingency plans. The Director-General of Water Services is monitoring the water industry's progress in ensuring that potential millennium problems are minimised and he has appointed an independent assessor to check on the completion of the rectification work by water companies and the testing of their contingency plans. The assessor's report will be published by OFWAT in the summer.