Severn Trent could supply Anglian Water homes

Fountains in Cathedral Square, Peterborough Peterborough's Cathedral Square fountains are being switched off because of water restrictions

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Water could be pumped 80 miles east from Birmingham in emergency plans to help out drought-hit areas of England.

Severn Trent Water is discussing plans to sell excess supplies to Anglian Water, which has imposed its first hosepipe ban for 20 years.

Under the deal, 30 million litres of water, enough to supply 100,000 homes, would be flowed daily to Gainsborough, in Lincolnshire, Severn Trent said.

David Essex, water strategy manager, said the move could happen in June.

He added: "We now know we are in a position to be able to help our neighbours while having enough to keep our own customers in supply."

'Small margin'

The company has not revealed how much it might sell the water for, although Mr Essex said it would not make large profits from the deal.

"What the intention is here is that we will cover our costs and we'll make a small margin.

"We are certainly not going to be making a large amount of money on this, but it's to help out our neighbours across the way."

He said the move should also benefit residents served by Severn Trent as "it can help keep bills down".

Parts of the UK are officially in drought.

Anglian Water is one of seven companies in the South East and East Anglia to impose water restrictions following two dry winters that have left reservoirs, aquifers and rivers below normal levels.

Mr Essex said Severn Trent had not imposed a hosepipe ban, despite part of the area it covers being drought-hit.

He said over the past year, the firm had moved some of its water supplies to drier areas.

Mr Essex added that the Severn Trent plan "could be a sign of things to come as water becomes scarcer and needs to be moved around the country".

Pumping from boreholes, the company plans to flow water from sources beneath Birmingham into the River Tame, which joins the Trent.

A spokesman for Anglian Water said: "It is something that we are looking at in terms of doing business with a neighbouring company."

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