The river authorities and the Water Resources Board, whose responsibility it is to keep requirements for water conservation under review, assumed their full functions only on 1st April of this year. Nevertheless, I have asked the Board to let me have a preliminary assessment of the situation. I have just received this and am now studying it.
Is the Minister aware that the action of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture is in some respects running contrary to his action about water conservation? Will he take into consideration land drainage schemes which may well operate contrary to the best interests of conservation when he is studying this problem?
Will the Minister bear in mind that water conservation is the crux of the problem and that the nationalisation of water undertakings is wholly irrelevant? Will he give an undertaking that we shall not have the farce over water undertakings which we are witnessing over steel?
On the contrary, I am considering the reorganisation of water supplies for the very reason which the hon. Member raised—that we have to be very concerned about the conservation of water and look forward to the steps which we can take immediately to avoid a crisis in the near future.