25 April 1997

Water supplies compensation

FARMERS who suffer disruptions to their water supply because of drought will receive up to £50 compensation a day, but only if they live in certain areas.

Water watchdog, the Office of Water Services, has signed an agreement with 14 of the 29 companies, which will enable consumers to be paid £10 a day and businesses £50 for interruptions to supplies.

But some of the largest companies with significant numbers of farmers, such as Anglian, North-umbrian, Severn Trent, Thames and Yorkshire, are declining to pay the set rates. An Anglian Water spokes-man said the set rate was too rigid.

"For some of our business customers, it will be too little, for others too high. We will go out to farms and talk to individuals and work out a rate if we find ourselves having to impose restrictions."

Penny Smith, NFU water adviser, said the union had agreed to the principle of compensation during the governments consultation round last year, but felt the £50 would not be enough for larger farmers. &#42