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Water firms behind in Y2K compliancy

WATER COMPANIES are falling behind other utilities in the race to make computer systems year 2000 compliant, the National Audit Office claimed this week.

Head of the NAO, Sir John Bourn, told Parliament that less than half the water companies had identified at least 50% of computers at risk from the millennium bug by last summer, and five had still not started to rectify the problem.

He warned that water companies had allowed little margin for slippage in their Y2K compliance programmes, and that the failure of computer controlled pumps and valves 'could cause the water supply to be cut off or lead to flooding from sewers'.

By comparison, the gas and telecommunications companies have completed problem identification, while all electricity companies have fixed computer systems at risk and completed testing.

Trade association Water UK acknowledged that the industry was behind, but claimed it would finish addressing the problem by July.

'We are confident that everything is on course,' said a spokesman.

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