Scotland offers to sell its water

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The rain-soaked hills of Scotland could one day supply water to households in South-east England after the Government confirmed it would discuss an offer from the Scottish Government to redirect excess rainwater to the drought-prone English.

The Scottish Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil offered help in March, before hosepipe bans were imposed by seven water companies in the South-east of England.

Record rainfall in April and continuing wet weather has led to bans being lifted in most areas, but now talks will take place to determine whether water could be pumped south from Scottish reservoirs in the event of another drought.

"I am pleased the UK Government has responded positively to our offer," said Mr Neil yesterday. "The south of England continues to face real issues with water supply. Scotland has a plentiful supply of water and superb industry expertise, so it was only right that we offered our assistance."

However, Mr Neil said there would be "massive logistical issues" to overcome and that any developments would have to be "commercially viable".

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