Severn-Trent Water Authority

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th December 1976.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Cardigan 12:00 am, 6th December 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to bring part of the Severn-Trent Water Authority area in Wales under the jurisdiction of the Welsh National Water Department Authority; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda

No. A water strategy for England and Wales, the need for which was amply demonstrated during the summer drought, requires a unified river basin management system. The present boundaries between the Welsh National Water Development Authority and the Severn-Trent Water Authority secure this.

Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Cardigan

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Mid-Wales area is the best water catchment area in the whole of Britain, and that the Welsh National Water Development Authority has been at a financial disadvantage since its inception, because the Mid-Wales area is not under its jurisdiction?

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda

It is true that part of Powys, the old Montgomery area, is under the Severn-Trent Water Authority, but that is because it is the upper catchment area of the River Severn, and the experience of all those who have had anything to do with water supply in recent years shows that one cannot have effective and efficient control over water supplies or sewerage and sewage disposal without a unified river basin management system.

Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson , Swansea East

Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the lessons of the drought was the interdependence of the water authorities in England and Wales and the need for a rather more centralised structure, for which the Government are pressing?

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda

I agree that that was one of the most valuable lessons. I hope that we shall all learn that the only means of combating such a period of drought is to secure the maximum co-operation between the water authorities but to let the responsibilites of the separate authorities depend upon the unified river basins.