Private water supplies ‘have been forgotten’ in drought talks - claim

LANDOWNERS’ leaders are claiming up to one million water users using private water supplies have not been accounted for in government plans for dealing with drought, including some homes and businesses in Suffolk.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) welcomed the Environment Agency’s drought prospect report for spring and summer 2012 but warned that homes and businesses reliant on private water supplies have been forgotten about under current drought discussions.

Newmarket-based CLA East regional adviser Rob Wise said: “There are around 40,000 private water supplies serving one million rural homes and businesses in the UK, including fisheries and drinking water for livestock. But government has not accounted for these when making contingency plans for the drought.

“Some private users are able to switch over to a public water supply when bore holes and springs dry up. This will lead to an unexpected increase in demand in certain areas but the impact on the water infrastructure network has been overlooked.”

He added: “The Environment Agency, water companies, local authorities and the Drinking Water Inspectorate must work more closely together to ensure these private users have adequate access to water for domestic and commercial use. Otherwise they could be left without any supply during the drought.”