asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a report to Parliament on the £200,000 computer project carried out on behalf of 10 water authorities at Penketh, Warrington ; and consider whether his Department can offer technical resources to the water authorities to enable them to achieve a uniform customer billing service.
Over the last three years the National Water Council and water authorities in England and Wales have collaborated in developing modern computer systems for billing water service charges. A joint feasibility project involving the Council and certain authorities was established at Warrington. Recently it was decided that the studies had reached the point where further development of the computer systems and programmes could best be carried on within the participating authorities to meet their particular local requirements. The work is, therefore, being continued by individual authorities in liaison with the National Water Council. It is for each authority to determine its billing system. I am satisfied that the technical resources available to the authorities and the National Water Council are sufficient to enable them to meet this responsibility.