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Water Supplies

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tap water supplies in England were contaminated with agricultural supplies in each since 2000. (92649)

Since 2001, there have been 21 notifications to the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) of public tap water supplies being contaminated by cross-connection, or back-siphonage in England and Wales.

For the 14 notifications where details are available, none was caused by contamination by agricultural water supplies. For the remaining seven notifications, and any notifications for the year 2000, DEFRA does not hold the information and it would not be possible to ascertain the cause without incurring disproportionate cost. These figures are for England and Wales combined and relate to public supplies.

It should be recognised that the DWI regulates public water supplies. Many agricultural properties are supplied by private water supplies, such as boreholes, which are regulated by local authorities. Local authorities would hold records of any cross- contamination events related to private water supplies.