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Water

Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what work has been carried out to establish the background levels of fluoxetine in the aquatic environment; and what estimate he has made of the amount of residues from (a) antidepressant and (b) other drugs in the (i) livers, (ii) brains and (iii) muscle of fish. (84064)

The Environment Agency has developed analytical methods for the detection of fluoxetine to levels of 0.002 microgrammes per litre (g/l) and norfluoxetine to 0.005 g/l. Monitoring was undertaken during 2005 downstream of a number of sewage works across England and Wales and fluoxetine (including norfluoxetine) was detected in 90 per cent. of the 39 samples. The average concentration detected was 0.017 g/l. An Environment Agency briefing on fluoxetine is available at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/commondata/acrobat/fluoextine_1068996.pdf

As a follow-up to studies commissioned by the Environment Agency, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) has investigated the presence of pharmaceutical products, including the antidepressant Lofepramine, in the liver and muscles of a small number of pike in the Grand Union Canal. Pike are predatory fish and thus exhibit the highest levels of any residues likely to enter the food chain. Lofepramine was not detected in any of the samples.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of (a) levels of pre-tax profits and (b) increases in water charges imposed by water companies. (80614)

Water companies made profits of £2.1 billion in 2004-05. The Government recognise that companies have to pay a return on their capital. However, water companies can only increase their profits by becoming more efficient and delivering all their services at less cost. These savings are also passed to customers in lower bills when the next price limits are set.

Average water and sewerage bills for household customers in England and Wales increased by 5.5 per cent. (including inflation) in April 2006. Customers' bills rose by an average of £15, from £279 to £294. The increases are in line with the price limits set by the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) for 2005-10 and will contribute towards a total capital investment programme of £16.8 billion for environmental and service improvements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much water on average was consumed by each person in England in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by water company. (84126)

Ofwat provides the Government with water consumption figures for England and Wales via the annual security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water report. Household water consumption is expressed in litres per head per day.

The following table provides company estimates of average household consumption for 2004-05.

2004-05

Water and sewerage companies (WaSC)

Anglian

143

Dwr Cymru

151

Northumbrian North

146

Northumbrian South

158

Severn Trent

132

SouthWest

161

Southern

157

Thames

159

United Utilities

142

Wessex

146

Yorkshire

145

WaSC Average

147

Water only companies (WoC)

Bournemouth and West Hampshire

167

Bristol

153

Cambridge

148

Dee Valley

145

Folkestone and Dover

159

Mid Kent

167

Portsmouth

159

South East

173

South Staffordshire

146

Sutton and East Surrey

173

Tendring Hundred

125

Three Valleys

178

WoC Average

165

Industry Average

150

Notes: 1. Averages are weighted by population of unmeasured households. 2. Excludes underground supply pipe leakage. 3. The 2004-05 report can be accessed on the Ofwat website at: http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/aptrix/ofwat/publish.nsf/AttachmentsBy Title/leakage04-05.pdf/$FILE/leakage_04-05.pdf

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much water consumption per head of population was planned by each water company in 2005-06. (84954)

All water companies in England and Wales prepared new water resources plans in 2004. The plans provided forecasts of per capita consumption (pcc) from 2005-06 to 2029-30. The following table shows pcc forecasts for 2005-06. These represent the theoretical average demand for water in a dry year, excluding the impact of any restrictions on water use. These numbers have been calculated from water companies’ forecasts of measured and unmeasured pcc.

Water company

Forecast pcc in 2005-06 (litres/head/day)

Anglian Water

147

Bournemouth and West Hampshire Water

171

Bristol Water

149

Cambridge Water

152

Cholderton and District Water

171

Dee Valley Water

158

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

166

Essex and Suffolk Water

165

Folkestone and Dover Water

169

Mid Kent Water

170

Northumbrian Water

150

Portsmouth Water

169

Severn Trent Water

137

South East Water

185

South Staffordshire Water

155

South West Water

163

Southern Water

168

Sutton and East Surrey Water

187

Tendring Hundred Water

131

Thames Water

168

Three Valleys Water

183

United Utilities

154

Wessex Water

147

Yorkshire Water

150

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much water was lost as a result of water leaks in London in each year since 1997. (87724)

Ofwat is the economic regulator for the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales. It collects leakage information from companies on their performance against these targets. This information is published annually in Ofwat’s ‘Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water report’.

Thames Water is the water supply company for the majority of customers in London. Some customers are supplied by Three Valleys Water, Essex and Suffolk Water, or Sutton and East Surrey Water. Ofwat collects leakage on the basis of company supply area only. Specific figures relating to London are not available.