Materion cyfoes o Gymru a'r byd. Current affairs from Wales and the world.
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A hosepipe ban is in force in the south and south-east of England...
..because of fears brought on by the worst drought in decades.
We can't do anything about it. All we can do is hope for rain.
As reservoirs in Wales are relatively full...
..some are calling for plans to transfer water to drought areas...
..over the border.
But these plans face opposition.
With Tryweryn as a backdrop, some question whether to charge for water.
It's Welsh water. Pay for it.
This business of England and Wales...
..people need to remember that we're part of England since 1536.
Tonight on Taro 9, we look at transfer of Welsh water to England.
Is there a price to pay?
Berkshire in south-east England.
A county which, like many neighboringregions...
..has been experiencing drought since February.
The last two years have been unusually dry...
..and groundwater is approaching its lowest ever levels.
One man feeling the affects is Derek Davies.
Born in Pembrokeshire, he's been farming near Reading for 20 years.
With over 300 dairy cows, water is essential to his business.
If I didn't have enough water...
..I wouldn't be able to keep the place clean...
..and as a result I'd probably lose my milk contract.
If I lost that, the cows would have to go.
It just wouldn't be worth it. That's the business.
He was so concerned about supplying the farm with water...
..that he constructed a borehole several years ago.
He also grows wheat and maize.
The affects of the drought are clear to see.
You can see that we've got a lot of gaps between the plants.
This should almost look like pasture land for grazing.
As you can see, it's so dry that the ground isn't full of plants.
We are desperate for rain. Lots of farmers are worried about it.
With a brother farming in Crymych...
..the difference between the two areas is apparent.
I was walking my brother's land. I couldn't believe the difference.
All we've got here is dust to work with...
..whereas my brother couldn't see the soil for plants.
Two and a half hours down the road makes all the difference.
The next few months will be challenging for the farm.
I don't know how much I'm going to grow.
Will I grow enough to feed the cows?
So I'll have buy feed and that's a concern...
..because I don't know how much to buy or spend.
The worry isn't confined to Berkshire.
Gwyn Jones has farmed in Sussex for 30 years.
He is accustomed to water saving measures...
..and has constructed a lagoon to store any rainwater that falls.
That's about half because as you see...
..it gets a lot bigger as it fills up.
This is about half full...
..and it would normally cover the island by now.
As you can see, the soil in Sussex is extremely dry.
It's another sunny day...
..with no sign that the situation is about to improve.
Last year saw just 40% of the average rainfall for the region.
The Met office says the year ending last October...
..was one of the driest since the extreme drought back in 1976.
This is all causing serious problems for farmers like Gwyn Jones.
He has just planted 500 acres of maize.
If the crop fails, the business faces losses of at least £150,000.
Even if it does grow to the extent that we get half...
..the tonnage we'd expect, that would instantly double its price...
..for the cattle and that wouldn't work out well.
And if it was drier than that, the crop would fail.
That would be very serious.
One of the major local concerns...
..is the impact drought has...
..on growing vegetables for supermarkets...
..and the conditions that apply.
If they've got a supermarket contract...
..if they fail to grow the crop...
..they frequently have to pay to send crop in its place.
They then have to shoulder those losses...
..and the costs mount up quickly.
On Thursday, a hosepipe ban came into force...
..across large parts of south and south-east England...
..and affecting 20 million people.
It means an end to hosepipe use for gardening and leisure.
The drought is a consequence of two dry winters.
Its impact on reservoirs is evident.
The water here at Ardingly reservoir in Sussex...
..is at half its average level for this time of year.
This is the scene you'd expect to see around July.
It's a different story in Wales.
Reservoirs there are practically full.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has suggested...
..that water be transferred from Wales to England...
..to help prevent situations like this.
Many others agree with him.
John Elfed Jones was a prominent figure in the water industry.
He was chair and chief executive of Welsh Water for over 10 years.
He says transferring water should be seriously considered...
..as other options such as the desalination of seawater cost more.
It isn't easy with water...
..but water should be directed to the areas that need it.
Yes, there is a cost.
But who is...
Is our weather going to change so much in the next 50 years...
..that residents will turn round and say...
"Why on earth didn't they spend the money back then...
"..to set up the arrangement?"
I think it's about time we considered doing so.
A lack of urgency and a lack of vision...
..is all-too-often what has led to these difficulties.
But he adds that under any new arrangement...
..Wales must be paid for the water so there is potential for profit.
What is fairness in this situation?
Is it fair that Wales doesn't profit a penny...
..from water it exports to England?
That isn't fair at all.
There are four water companies that operate in Wales.
Welsh Water is the largest, supplying 1.2 million homes.
Severn Trent has over 27, 000 customers here.
They are also responsible for the Midlands...
..with water from the Elan Valley supplying Birmingham.
Dee Valley Water supplies the north-east...
..in areas such as Wrexham and Chester.
And even though United Utilities doesn't supply customers in Wales...
..Laky Vyrnwy and the river Dee supply their customers...
..in Liverpool and Manchester.
Wales is not paid for the water used by United Utilities...
..apart from a fee that's paid to the Environment Agency...
..for removal of water.
Welsh Water owns the reservoirs that supply Birmingham.
Severn Trent simply cover the cost of transporting the water.
The terms date back to the '80s, before the industry was privatized.
John Elfed Jones thinks it's about time we made a profit from water.
It should go to a water company so that people living in Wales...
..and industries that operate in Wales...
..can profit from a reduction in their costs.
That in turn, of course...
..would mean that Wales could attract more industries...
..that depend on water to come and set up in Wales.
One event casts a shadow...
..over mention of supplying Welsh water to England.
In 1965, the village of Capel Celyn in Tryweryn...
..was drowned to make a reservoir to supply Liverpool...
..despite opposition from local people and most Welsh MPs.
In 2005, the city of Liverpool issued an apology.
More than anything I remember the discussions back at home...
..between my mother and father and the local people.
They couldn't believe such a thing was happening.
I don't think my father's generation ever recovered from it.
As the old soldiers say, "They couldn't forget."
It stayed with them.
Rhodri Gwynlliw Jones lived in Capel Celyn...
..and was an eight-year-old pupil when the drowning occurred.
He believed the reason was to allow Liverpool to sell the water...
..without having to pay Wales a penny.
It was all to do with profit.
That's why they built the dam.
It had nothing to do with the people of Liverpool needing water.
It was solely driven by profit.
Eurgain Prysor was another resident of Capel Celyn.
She was the youngest protester to go to Liverpool against the decision.
I was three years old at the time.
It was a real adventure for a three-year-old child.
Rotten tomatoes were thrown at us when we reached Liverpool.
Even though years have gone by, the area is still hurting.
Families were scattered. The community disappeared.
Capel Celyn had no community after that.
Celyn residents paid a high price for it in the first place.
I think they made profit from us, and continue to do so.
Llyn Celyn supplies the river Dee.
Water is released to the river when necessary.
Eurgain Prysor feels as though being paid for the water...
..would be an acknowledgement of the injury done to the area.
If we were paid...
..in the economic situation we're in now...
..it would reduce domestic bills here in Wales.
Rhodri Jones doesn't want to see other areas drowned under new plans.
It is very unlikely another such event would happen nowadays.
He says in future Wales should make a profit from selling water.
That's what we got in Celyn.
We want the water, we're taking your homes.
We don't care what you say, we're sending you away like refugees.
No. Tough. Tough.
It's Welsh water. Tough. If they want it, they should pay.
But according to some, there's a different price to pay.
In 2006, an Environment Agency report concluded...
..that it was too expensive, environmentally and financially...
..to move the water.
Water is heavy, so it takes a lot of energy to move this water.
We have to think about carbon dioxide emissions...
..which could affect climate change.
During the last two years...
..some areas of Wales have come close to experiencing a drought.
The water rises quickly, and it can drop quickly.
That's why we have these reservoirs around Wales...
..so that we can use that water when it's dry.
There's this idea that we have plenty of water in Wales.
In the future, when climate change hits us...
..we'll have less water.
We'll have to consider how much water we use...
..before thinking about moving it to other areas.
The School of Engineering at Cardiff University.
Professor Roger Falconer is a lecturer here.
He recently chaired an international conference in Spain...
..on water management.
He says a scheme to move water from Wales to North East England...
..should be seriously considered.
Climate change is having a massive impact.
These projects take a long time to implement...
..and we need to be careful that we don't keep putting off...
..decisions that need to be made now with a 10 year lead time.
Two main engineering schemes are possible...
..to secure a significant supply of water.
One would be to build a new reservoir near Tewkesbury.
The water would be released into the Severn...
..and pumped into the Thames through new pipes...
..or by reopening old canals.
The other option would be to double the size...
..of the Craig Goch reservoir.
The water would be moved, according to demand, into the Severn...
..and then transferred to the Thames.
The raising of Craig Goch Dam, which is a dam of about 70 metres.
It's not a large dam by international standards...
..so it would not be a major civil engineering project.
After the break, we'll hear from the civil engineer...
..who has spent years developing the plans.
We'll also travel to another area which is facing a drought.
London. Home to almost eight million people.
A city, like many other areas in the south of England...
..facing a drought.
The population is expected to grow quickly...
..as is the demand for water.
Some have suggested moving water from Wales here...
..and there are calls to charge people for it.
But not everyone agrees.
Dr Carol Bell is a gas and oil expert.
Don't forget how much money flows from here in Westminster...
..down to Wales in the other direction.
The important thing for us is to have a share of the jobs...
..that would be created through the building of these resources.
That is the way to receive help during these difficult times.
And the water companies, like Welsh Water...
..will naturally make a fair profit from this process.
She doesn't think water should be considered in the same way as oil.
I think we have a system that works pretty well already.
This business of being between Wales and England...
..people have to remember their history.
We've been a part of England since 1536.
It's unreasonable to talk like this about water...
..which is a human right, unlike oil...
..which is something people can do without.
But what do the people of London think?
Do they think Wales should be paid for the water?
Definitely. Yes. I've got a flat in Wales!
I don't think so.
We're a United Kingdom, and all water should be shared.
If there's a drought...
..and we can move it to areas where there's less, then great.
To an extent. As long as it's not excessive.
Even if it means higher water bills for you?
I guess it's either that or nothing.
We'd probably charge Wales if it was the other way round.
It's probably fair.
The MP for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, Elfyn Llwyd, wants to see...
..a fair price for the water, and says the Welsh Government...
..should receive the money, not the water companies.
If new sources of water were created, the Welsh Government...
..should pay, along with the recipient of the water...
..to build the infrastructure to create that resource...
..and should be paid back for the work..
..and for the water that crosses the border.
The industry is regulated.
In Wales and England, Ofwat ensures that prices are fair...
..and that the profit is controlled.
The Government also has a role.
Every five years, water companies in Wales and England...
..have to produce a water resources management plan.
It reveals how they would respond to the demand for water...
..in the next 25 years.
They also have to produce a drought plan.
In England, the UK Government approves that plan.
In Wales, it's the Government in Cardiff Bay.
The Westminster Government approves the plans of Severn Trent...
..and United Utilities.
It's not clear whether Cardiff or London would have the final say...
..about water that crosses the border.
The Government of Wales Act states that the Secretary of State...
..can intervene if English water supplies are seriously affected.
I raised it in 2005 or 2006 because it was suspicious...
..and was told it was academic.
But I think in this case...
..the Welsh Government should make the final decision.
It's an invaluable resource for us in Wales...
..and we should be able to develop it sensibly and sustainably...
..for the people of Wales.
The Welsh Government says there has to be evidence...
..that supplies are being affected before Westminster can intervene.
The starting point of a discussion about charging for Welsh water...
..is to secure a value for the resource...
..and to protect the environment.
But which plan is the most likely?
John Lawson is the former chair of the Civil Engineers Water Panel.
For years, he's investigated the possibility...
..of increasing the size of the Craig Goch reservoir.
He says that scheme remains the front-runner.
From the work I've done in the past...
..the studies always lead back to the raising of Craig Goch...
..if you need to have a big resource for southern England.
Although there need to be additional studies...
..until further evidence is produced to demonstrate...
..that actually is not possible, I think that would be the best way.
But the studies need to be done.
Companies like Thames Water...
..have considered and rejected the plan in the past.
It's more appealing for companies to build reservoirs...
..within their own borders, according to John Lawson.
Water companies like to own their own capital assets.
The amount of profit they're allowed to make by the regulator..
..is dependent on the value of the assets they own.
So they prefer to do it themselves...
..but that isn't necessarily the best thing.
Welsh Water owns the Craig Goch reservoir.
It says increasing the size of the reservoir isn't a solution...
..based on a report in 2006.
At the time, that cost was five times the cost of desalination...
..taking salt out of sea water to make it drinkable.
But now, energy costs have increased so much...
..and that cost would probably...
..be between five and ten times as much.
It might be possible technically...
..but it's not practical financially or environmentally.
The company isn't in favour of moving the water either.
The most important thing to us is to secure a water supply...
..for our customers here in Wales.
At the moment, it's not possible to move water from Wales...
..to the south east because the resources aren't available.
It would be too expensive...
..and it wouldn't be practical environmentally.
If it was possible financially and environmentally...
..we would look at it, but at the moment, it's not.
Severn Trent disagrees.
The company says water companies can work together...
..that customers can also benefit...
..and that there are several options.
There are a range of ideas around raising the dams in Wales...
..in Elan and Craig Goch.
Dwr Cymru are also looking at some of those ideas.
Nothing is ruled out, and we're identifying options.
In principle, there's no reason why Dwr Cymru...
..couldn't raise those dams, and sell that water.
Last year, Severn Trent paid over £6 million to Welsh Water...
..for water from the Elan Valley.
It didn't want to comment...
..on any change in the arrangement of paying for the water.
There's an arrangement between Severn Trent and Dwr Cymru.
We take water from Elan into Birmingham and we pay for that...
..but we can't comment on how they might wish to change that.
We contacted English water companies and asked them...
..for their opinion on paying to move water from Wales to England.
Most of them refused to answer directly...
..but they did offer other options.
They agreed it would be costly environmentally and financially...
..to move water from Wales to the south of England.
There's no sign of things improving in the near future.
Farmers remain concerned.
You can carry losses for a while but if the worst happens...
..and we have another dry year next year, it would be bad.
So far, there have been no discussions...
..between the Westminster and Welsh governments about any new plan.
But some say those discussions need to begin.
I think the Welsh Government should sit down with people...
..in Westminster to find the money to build these resources.
There are ways of raising the money...
..and they should start talking as soon as possible.
There's a price to pay for it...
..there's a structure to be developed...
..and there's a price on water, so let it happen.
S4C subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Materion cyfoes o Gymru a'r byd. Current affairs from Wales and the world.