Many new reservoirs 'needed to beat the drought'

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The Independent Online
New reservoirs and fewer government restrictions are needed to beat drought, water companies serving 13 million people said yesterday.

Ray Tennant, deputy chairman of the Water Companies Association, said he believed there had been change in the English climate, with dry spells lasting for six months or longer becoming more frequent. Last winter's rainfall was well below average across the country and followed a very dry summer.

At the same time, increasingly affluent households were demanding more water for uses in the home, for garden watering and car washing, and they were entitled to it. Now that water supply was privatised customers were unwilling to suffer hosepipe bans for summer after summer.

The remarks by Mr Tennant at a press conference yesterday are a challenge to the Government and its new Environment Agency. Both have been arguing the case for restraining the rising public demand for water so as to avoid the environmental damage done by building new reservoirs and taking more from rivers and boreholes.