Water companies are in talks about pooling resources to beat drought

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WATER companies are in talks about pooling together their resources to tackle drought.

Anglian Water, which supplies water to Stamford and Bourne from Rutland Water, could use reserves from Severn Trent, which supplies Rutland.

The Environment Agency has declared a state of drought in the east of England. The water level of Rutland Water is down 25 per cent on where it should be at this time of the year.

But the west of the country where Severn Trent is based is still flush with water and the companies could soon begin to trade between themselves.

Water strategy manager for Severn Trent David Essex said: “Technical discussions are underway and this could happen as early as June.

“By the early spring we will know how much we will be able to support our neighbouring water companies.”

The Environment Agency has already given Anglian Water a drought permit to take water from the River Nene to top up its supplies at Rutland Water if there is not sufficient rain fall in spring.

If Severn Trent and Anglian Water strike a deal then up to 30 million litres of raw water per day - enough to supply 100,000 homes in the Anglian Water region - could be transferred 80 miles from Birmingham to Newark under the Severn Trent Water scheme.

Over the last six months Severn Trent has focused on moving raw water supplies across its water “grid” from the west to the east to balance out regional supplies.

Mr Essex added: “This could be the first example of emergency water trading and a sign of things to come as water becomes scarcer and needs to be moved around the country.”

A national water grid is something that has been called for by one Rutland farmer who is worried that without it crops in the area will fail.

Andrew Brown, of Caldecott, is the chairman of the NFU for the East Midlands and says the idea needs exploring.

He said: “It is a big aspiration and might not be possible but as water becomes a precious resource then this might have to happen.

“Farmers with potato and carrot crops will not have the water supplies to sustain themselves for much longer.”

It comes as Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman hosted a drought summit this week as parts of England struggle with groundwater levels lower than in 1976, particularly in the east of England.

A spokesman for Anglian Water said: “The national grid for water would be incredibly costly and energy intensive.

“The only solution is to look at a connection between the neighbouring regions.”