asked the Minister of Health whether the attention of his Department has been drawn to the prospective shortage of water in the district supplied by the Metropolitan Water Board if the present drought continues; whether he has taken any action in order to urge on the Water Board the necessity of providing for London's water supply; if so, will he state what action has been taken; and if he proposes to take any further steps in order to protect water consumers in the Metropolitan area?
I am keeping in close touch with the Metropolitan Water Board, who fully appreciate the position and are taking all possible precautions. At present there is no shortage, nor, having regard to the available supplies, is the situation likely to become generally serious, even if the drought should continue. It is important, of course, that, in view of the very exceptional spell of dry weather which has been experienced, the public should exercise all reasonable care in the use of water.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is any amount of water in Wales, and cannot facilities be given to bring that water to various parts of the country?
I am well aware that there is a large amount of water in Wales.
asked the Minister of Health whether a water shortage is anticipated this year; if so, in what localities and to what extont; and what action is being taken by His Majesty's Government?
There is at present no serious shortage of water supplies generally, although some places are already in difficulties. The conditions differ greatly even in neighbouring districts, but the outlook, if the drought continues, is least satisfactory in the south and south-east. My Department are assisting authorities who are, or are likely to be, in difficulties. I will send the hon. Member a copy of a circular which was issued in March last.
Has any progress been made, and if so to what extent, with regard to the general inquiry into the water supply of England and Wales?
As my right hon. Friend knows, there is a general inquiry going on. I do not think that I can tell him exactly what progress has been made, but a very careful survey is being made of the water supply and the sources of water supply of the country.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since Birmingham got its water supply from Wales, there has been no shortage?