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We have done something already. The powers are there, and can be used if necessary. The proportion of water used domestically is very large and the contribution which can be made by the individual citizen is very substantial. Everyone should be doing his bit. Not only the domestic consumers, but the Service establishments should use every reasonable economy. Such economy would have an additional advantage, since pumping involves fuel, and the reduction of pumping helps to solve our fuel diffi culties.
With regard to the Rural Water Supply Bill, we believe that, under it, in measurable time, we shall see piped water in all, or very nearly all, sizeable groups of houses. That was a matter upon which Lord Justice Scott's Committee laid particular stress. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture proposes to extend his scheme for financial assistance, so that it may also cover isolated farm houses and cottages which it would be very difficult to reach by piped supplies except at very considerable cost.
That is a general and abbreviated outline of the proposals in the White Paper. It is a subject full of technicalities, legislative, administrative and scientific; but we may, I think, find great satisfaction in discussing this subject and in the work that lies ahead. We shall be seeking to make better use of the natural equipment of our country, we shall be working for the purity of our rivers, we shall be working for the prosperity of our farms, and we shall be improving the health and the homes of hundreds of thousands of our fellow-citizens. That is really what we are putting our hands to. It is more than 700 years since St. Francis of Assisi praised his Maker for:
our sister water, who is very serviceable unto us, and humble and precious and clean.
His words are not only very beautiful; they are true.