Examination of witnesses (Questions 280-291)|
TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2001
280. Where it floods a lot?
(Dr Mance) Yes.
281. So there could be substantial extra water
coming in that way?
(Dr Mance) It could mean extra water coming in that
way. Let us put it in context. Under Birmingham the rising ground
water is, due to the loss of historic abstractions, around 80
megalitres a day in a water company area where the water company
is supplying 2,500 megalitres a day or thereabouts, so the additional
water is useful but not dramatic.
282. But it is not taken into account in any
of these water resources plans that you have been talking about?
(Dr Mance) Some are. For instance, the Birmingham
ground water, abstracting that so that it can be put in the river,
providing a base to be removed further downstream in Nottingham,
does in fact feature in the Severn Trent plan, for instance. The
rising ground water in London does feature in the Thames water
plan. Those issues are starting to be included.
283. Demand management. Ought there to be a
much stronger duty in the legislation that companies have to look
at demand management?
(Dr Mance) Yes, in the context of efficient use of
water by themselves and their customers. It is important that
that is very clear and that is exercised. I think it is fair to
say that if each individual company adopted the examples of best
practice that are around the country and put them all together
as a best practice package it would have quite a significant impact.
We do not see a coherent drive on that at the moment. We do not
see Ofwat putting it as a priority and they are the lead regulator
on efficient use being promoted by the companies. The companies
themselves do not have a duty to act efficiently themselves in
relation to their water, which is anomalous.
284. So it should be included in the new legislation?
(Dr Mance) Yes.
285. You promised us this list of 12 things
that you also want to go into the Bill. Are you disappointed by
the Bill, that really it is only a half or a quarter of a meal?
(Dr Mance) Gwyn worked very closely with another of
our staff with the DETR team putting together the package of proposals.
286. Oh, so it is his fault?
(Dr Mance) It is not his fault that only part of the
meal is on the table at the moment; hence we would very much like
to see all the provisions in the government's Taking Water
Responsibly document translated through into the Bill. That
is a comprehensive package that would give us the flexibility
to manage water resources responsibly in future, but we need the
legislation to be able to do so.
287. Can you explain then why we have only got
half a meal on the table?
(Dr Mance) I think you had best address that to the
DETR. I believe they have had time constraints in preparing the
288. Oh, come on.
(Dr Mance) That is what we have been told, but you
had best address that to them.
289. But do you think it would be very useful
to have a proper Bill rather than this very half-hearted one?
(Dr Mance) I think it is important that this Bill
reaches the statute book. With the flooding of the autumn everyone
is focused on floods and flooding. The other side of climate change
is that we will get 1995 type summers ever more frequently and
we need to be in a position to manage water resources in the context
of that type of climate.
290. But Departments tend to get one slot every
five or six years for legislation, and some of this has not been
touched since 1963, has it?
(Dr Mance) No.
291. So if they do not take the opportunity
to have a proper Bill in the next Queen's Speech then they might
well wait a long time for some of these provisions.
(Dr Mance) Indeed. Hence we are saying very clearly
to you that we do need the legislation brought up to date to be
fit for the 21st century and to cope with climate change. It is
Chairman: On that note, thank you very much
for your evidence.