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National Water Grid

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of establishing a national water grid to enable water to be piped across the UK to tackle different rainfall levels; and if he will make a statement. (93777)

The Environment Agency report “Do we need large-scale water transfers for south east England?” was published in September. It estimated that to build five pipelines carrying 1,100 megalitres of water per day from the northern Pennines to London would cost up to £15 billion, with a unit cost of £8-14 million per megalitre per day of supply capacity. This is at least four times the unit cost of building new reservoirs to increase supplies locally.

The report found no evidence for the need for such large scale transfers. These were considered to be more expensive and environmentally damaging than the measures already in the south east water companies' water resources plans.