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Water Management: S&T Report

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The guidance referred to is in a document entitledThe Environment Agency's Objectives and Contribution to Sustainable Development: Statutory Guidance. The document is available on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/ea/sustain/index.htm.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: No. All water customers, whether on benefit or not, are liable to pay their bills, and the overwhelming majority do so.

Water costs are one item provided for within the third party deductions scheme operated by the Department for Work and Pensions. This is a long-standing last-resort safety net for a minority of vulnerable people on certain benefits who have arrears of bills. An amount can be deducted from weekly benefit and paid directly to the water company or other creditor. Evidence from research shows that customers find the scheme helpful. This help is rightly targeted at people currently receiving benefit.

Water Supply

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The south-west pilot study is looking at how benefit entitlement checks, switching to meters and water efficiency measures could help low income households with their water bills. There are no plans to change the legislation prohibiting the disconnection or limiting of water supplies of customers for non-payment of bills.

Water Supply: London and the South-east

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): All water companies have water resource management plans, complementing the Environment Agency's national and regional strategies, which look ahead 25 years, and include projections of current and future demands for water. These plans are regularly updated to account for factors such as projections of household numbers and occupancy rates and the implications of climate change. Water companies' water resource management plans are currently produced voluntarily but will become statutory under provisions in the Water Act 2003.


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