Water compensation may dry up

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The Independent Online
Consumers who fail to get water in a drought may not be compensated by their supplier company, despite government pleas for a better service, it emerged yesterday.

Pamela Taylor, chief executive of the Water Companies Association, which represents 20 of the smaller privatised firms, fired a warning shot at the Government as companies raced to meet the midnight deadline set by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, to cut leaks and help protect the environment. Britain's 29 privatised water companies have been under attack from Labour for big profits and poor service over the past two years. Mr Prescott demanded a shake-up at a water summit on 19 May, giving firms three weeks to come up with ideas for improving services. Ms Taylor called for more talks with the Government, saying in a statement, "some companies simply cannot commit to a guarantee of this kind due to the resources available to them in terms of their geographical location".