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On Tap

OnTap Click here to watch

BBC Water Week starts with a splash! In On Tap on Monday, March 23, Sue Lawley, Peter Snow and a whirlpool of BBC stars investigate Britain's water. In one of the biggest national surveys of its kind, On Tap reveals what people really think about their water and those who supply it.

Sue Lawley takes to the road delivering half-price Thames Water to South West Water customers who face the most expensive bills in the country. And, it may be wet and there may be lots of it - but can it really be the "wrong type of rain"? Peter Snow looks at Britain's weather and water supply and separates the facts from the fiction when it comes to the water industry.

Children's BBC presenter, Sally Gray, takes to the bottle with wine writer Jancis Robinson and Toyah Willcox to discover which is best - designer bottled water or ordinary tap water. Vanessa Feltz visits a fat-filled sewer and botanist David Bellamy sets up stall in London's Soho, selling tomatoes grown on sewage.

Everyone can take part in BBC Water Week by making their own water slide rule from the special Water Week insert in Radio Times, or if you have Shockwave installed, you can try our interactivewaterwatcher. On Tap follows one family measuring the amount of water they use in a day. Could they have saved a drop or an ocean? Viewers are likely to be surprised.


Profit Pump

Profits Pump Click here to watch
 
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Since the moment they were sold off in 1989, the water companies of England and Wales have produced profits, dividends, share prices and directors' bonuses beyond all expectations.

In The Profits Pump on Tuesday, March 24, Michael Robinson tells the story of this most unpopular privatisation and reveals tricks of the trade used by some water companies to boost returns to shareholders at customers' expense. The programme investigates the complex game of bluff and counterbluff between the companies and the regulator over the most important source of profits - the size of customers' water bills. The more people pay, the higher the profits water companies can expect. As the regulator once again embarks on the lengthy process of fixing water prices for the next millennium, The Profits Pump asks whether the present regulatory system is robust enough to be able to redress the balance in customers' favour.


Correspondent Currently unavailable

Correspondent will be taking part in the BBC's Water Week, with a magazine programme dedicated to various water themes. The programme will be presented by correspondent Julian Pettifer from Peru where a year ago he predicted that the El Niño would mean that certain areas would become environmental disaster zones. The areas have since suffered bad flooding, and in their wake has come cholera.

Also in the programme, correspondent Suntia Thakur reports from India, where the effects of the Government's ambitious $450 million plan to build a number of big and small dams on the Narmada river to provide water and electricity for people living hundreds of miles outside the region, is having a devastating effect on some people's lives as they lose their homes and land. Medha Patkur has become a Gandhi figure organising a grass-roots protest against the dam. She has been imprisoned, beaten and has fasted for her cause and has finally achieved a halt to the construction of the dam. Correspondent looks at the fate of the half-built dam, currently too small to generate electricity despite the millions of pounds spent on construction.

In another film Angus Robertson reports from the small Alpine village of Blumau in Austria which is waking up to the potential of its immense water resources. The Alpine country has a population of 7.8 million, but the water reserves to supply 450 million. The European Parliament is considering plans for a trans-European water network to pipe water from the Alps to drier areas like Italy and Spain.

The Austrians are now beginning to wake up to their liquid assets and they are hoping that it could do for them what oil did for Texans. Blumau used to be one of the poorest areas in the country but now they have just opened Europe's latest spa which is already attracting an international clientele.