Yorkshire splashes out pounds 70m on water

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Yorkshire Water yesterday announced fresh measures to lift the threat of stand-pipes, rota cuts and fleets of road tankers having to bring in water from surrounding areas.

The rainless company, now under new management, said it would be spending an extra pounds 70m on top of the pounds 100m emergency investment of the past six months in case this summer also turns out to be dry.

An existing hosepipe ban which covers 3.5 million customers will be extended to east Yorkshire, thereby embracing the company's entire area and all four million people it provides with tap water.

The company will also be applying to the Government to bring in deeper restrictions in parts of its region. These would ban watering allotments, parks and sports grounds, stop the filling of ponds and swimming pools and the use of car washes which do not recycle water. Such restrictions already cover a population of three million.

Some pounds 30m of the extra investment will be in new pipelines and water treatment plants serving Huddersfield, the worst affected part of Yorkshire last summer and autumn. It follows a winter in which only half the average rainfall fell leaving reservoirs just 40 per cent full. This time last year they were almost overflowing.

The other pounds 40m will be used to bring water from the river Tees, in neighbouring Northumbrian Water's area. An eight mile pipeline would link the Tees to the river Wiske. The imported water would then flow down into the Ouse with another new 14 mile pipeline carrying the rest to a large water treatment works near York.

Yorkshire hopes to have this scheme in place by the autumn to cope with another dry winter, but it will need permission to take large quantities from the Tees from the Government's new Environment Agency. Some of this water will come from Europe's largest reservoir, the under-used Keilder Water.