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Shortages will force water firms to work together

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LOW RAINFALL in the south east will force water companies to share water resources over the next few years, trade association Water UK predicted this week.

'In the short term, water companies will have to work more closely together to improve connectivity and share water resources, ' said a spokesman.

Efforts to reduce water use, including wider use of meters, are also likely to become more common.

Last week Folkestone & Dover Water Service won permission from the Department of the Environment Food & Rural Affairs to introduce compulsory water metering.

Currently 40% of Folkestone & Dover customers are metered. The company plans to raise this figure to 90% by 2014.

But Water UK said the decision was unlikely to trigger a rash of copy cat demands from other water companies as its effect was limited.

Metering is expected to reduce water use by 5% to 15%, according to the Environment Agency. But a Water UK spokesman argued that, in some affl ent areas, it could have little effect on demand.

'In the medium to long term, south east England water companies will have to look at different solutions, although having meters will be part of all their plans, ' he said.

Several other water companies have water share arrangements too. Southern has separate ones with Mid Kent Water and South East Water, and Essex & Suffolk Water has an agreement with Thames Water

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