Water Supply

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 19th April 2018.

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Photo of Rosena Allin-Khan Rosena Allin-Khan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support was given to families who infant feed with formula milk during the Thames Water water supply disruption in March; and what steps he is taking to improve the response to future water shortages.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

During the recent water supply disruption in March, Thames Water set up local bottled water stations in affected areas, including at Balham High Road Sainsbury’s, and Tooting Bec Lido. The bottled water provided has passed Thames Water’s quality tests, and is safe to give to young babies.

Section 208, Water Industry Act 1991, makes provision for directions to be given to water companies which require them to take specific action in the interests of national security, or to mitigate the effects of a civil emergency. The Security and Emergency Measures (Water and Sewerage Undertakers) Direction 1998, directs them to maintain plans to provide a supply of water at all times, even in an emergency.

Following the events in March, I wrote to water companies on increasing resilience to extreme weather. I also commissioned a review by Ofwat which will look at the causes of the problems, and the response of water companies. Their conclusions will be published by June.

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