House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology

Lords inquiry to examine - WATER MANAGEMENT

JULY 2005

The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology has set up a Sub-Committee to examine Water Management.  The Sub-Committee today issued an invitation for written evidence.

The Chairman of the Sub-Committee, the Earl of Selborne, said:

“Water shortages are increasingly part of our everyday lives. If we are to avoid graver problems in future we must plan ahead. We need to consider changing demographics, economic development, the framework for investment by the water industry, and ways to manage demand and to reduce the colossal waste of water. And of course we need to consider climate change, and the effect of more and more hot dry summers on both water supply and demand.

We will be looking critically at the way the Government, and its various departments and agencies, are tackling these issues, and at whether or not there is a properly joined-up approach to water management. We will be looking in particular at how science, engineering and technology can contribute to more sustainable long-term water management.”

Notes for editors:

The inquiry will be focusing on:

  • current problems with water supply, and the measures to combat them;

  • planning the water supply to meet future anticipated demand;

  • the level of investment in the infrastructure for water supply and drainage;

  • reduction of waste by suppliers and consumers;

  • the part to be played by scientific research.

The Committee will accept written submissions until 3 October 2005.  A copy of the formal call for evidence is attached.

Further information (including further copies of the call for evidence) from:

Michael Collon, Clerk to the Sub-Committee: Tel: 020 7219 5750.  Email:  

Call for Evidence - Water management

The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology has appointed a Sub-Committee, chaired by the Earl of Selborne, to investigate the future management of water in the United Kingdom ( 1)  in the context of demographic and economic development, and, in the longer term, of climate change.

The Environment Agency recently voiced concerns that the water companies are concentrating on developing new supply rather than managing demand. The Committee invites evidence on all issues affecting the future balance of supply and demand, and in particular on the following questions:

Defining the problem

  • What are the causes of the current problems of water supply, and how serious are they?

  • What are the projections for future water supply, and what factors will influence these projections? Where, and over what timescales, may problems emerge?

  • Is sufficient research being devoted to predicting, and handling, possible future scenarios?

  • Is the response of Government, the EU, regulators and the industry adequate?

Supply and demand

  • What are the options for increasing water supply, and what are the arguments for and against?

  • What are the likely future trends in water demand, and what can be done to manage demand more effectively, and to influence the behaviour of consumers and others?

  • What contribution can science, engineering and technology make towards reducing water use or waste by households, businesses and the public sector?


  • What is the current state of the water supply and drainage infrastructure? Is there sufficient investment in its improvement?


  • The Water Act 2003 amended previous legislation in order to promote sustainability and water conservation. Is the legislative and regulatory framework, at national and European levels, adequate?

  • How does water figure in the development of Government policy in areas such as housing, land use planning and industry?

  • What can the UK learn from the experience of other countries?


The Committee will not be considering fluoridation, nor will it be covering flooding.

1.  Responsibility for the water industry and water resources in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The inquiry will therefore focus on issues affecting England and Wales.

Guidance for those submitting written evidence

The deadline for submitting written evidence is  Monday 3 October 2005.

Submissions should be sent to :

Michael Collon
Clerk of Sub-Committee I
Select Committee on Science and Technology
Committee Office,
House of Lords,
London SW1A 0PW.

and preferably also as an email attachment to  

Telephone  020 7219 5750;    fax 020 7219 4931. 

Please ensure that you include relevant contact details. Evidence should be attributed and dated, with a note of your name and position, and should state whether it is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.

Short submissions of 6 pages or fewer are preferred; longer submissions should include a summary.

Evidence sent as hard copy should be clearly printed or typed on single sides of A4 paper, unstapled.  Paragraphs should be numbered.  If drawings or charts are included, we ask that these are black-and-white and of camera-ready quality.

Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed or circulated by the Committee at any stage.  You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you should indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. If your evidence is not printed, it will in due course be made available to the public in the Parliamentary Record Office.

Personal contact details supplied to the Committee will be removed from evidence before publication and from the copy deposited in the Record Office. However, personal contact details will be retained by the Committee Office and used for specific purposes relating to the Committee's work, for instance to seek additional information or to send copies of the Committee's Report.

The Committee will invite some of those who submit written evidence to give oral evidence, usually in public at Westminster.  Public sessions will begin in October 2005;  transcripts of such sessions will be published.

You can follow the progress of the inquiry via the Science and Technology Sub-Committee I web pages, accessed from   

This is a public call for evidence.  Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may not have received a copy direct.