Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Water Supply

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 3rd May 1944.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Alan Chorlton Mr Alan Chorlton , Bury

I have not spoken for so long that I feel almost inclined to ask for the indulgence of the House. I should like to congratulate the Minister on his courage in bringing forward this scheme. It is founded upon plenty of Royal Commissions and special Committees in the past and I am deeply interested in it—a parental interest, I might say, for I have some experience of producing schemes myself in the past and in much greater detail. I found certain difficulties which arose in criticism. I find trunk mains criticised as too expensive, but water must be brought from districts like Wales and Scotland to the dry parts of England such as Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The criticism was that the cost would be much too high. It could not be done. What are you to do to replace it? I went so far as to gather water locally by impounding the Wash and pumping into and if necessary from that reservoir. There is a large quantity of water from the estuaries of the rivers flowing into it, but it means a lot of pumping. But you have to go further than that. There must be other rivers which can be dealt with in the same way. It means really a great deal more pumping than we have been used to in the past because it you fill a big reservoir it will require it both ways, in and out. I think the whole scheme a good one, but one cannot say more without more details. It will require a lot of going into from these Committees and somebody must sift out their findings.

Then there is the staff of the Ministry. I have to be careful what I say. Are they going to be strong enough to do the job? The man who goes out to do it must be properly backed. These regional committees are all right, but who is going to sift the evidence? He cannot do it all. He must have some help. I found another peculiar thing about the criticisms of my proposals. In the end I discovered it was trade unionism. I was not a water engineer but only a mechanical engineer. I feel that the Minister has done the right thing in bringing this scheme forward, and we all ought to support him to the full.