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November 11, 2003 1:11 PM

Otter at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Jersey Zoo).Liberal Democrat Peer, Baroness Miller, will today challenge the Government to come up with contingency drought plans following the exceptionally low rainfall this summer and autumn.

In a topical question to the House of Lords, Baroness Miller will say:

"As reservoirs sink to the lowest level for years, the water companies are very reluctant to take precautionary action.

"It is the Government's job to make sure, when a dry winter is a possibility, that we do not see our environment suffer. Pumping out rivers to fill depleted reservoirs damages wildlife and should be the very last option. At the moment it seems like the first option, instead of water saving measures.

"If the rains come in enough quantity before spring then we can relax. If they do not, then taking action early will have been a very wise measure."