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Emergency water plant in London unusable despite drought risk

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A £250m desalination plant launched 12 years ago to increase drinking supplies during long dry spells has been put on hold, as water companies in England and Wales face growing political pressure over their management of the supply crisis.TheThames Water plant at Beckton, east London, opened in 2010 with plans to supply up to 1 million people during emergencies, but that ambition has been scaled back amid doubts when the facility can begin operating.Despite July’s heatwave and the driest eight-month spell since 1976, the Beckton plant will not start supplying drinking water until next year at the earliest, according to the Daily Telegraph.The company told the paper it had downgraded the estimated supply from the plant by a third.

A spokesperson said: “This adjustment was made on the basis of experience and to avoid creating unrealistic expectations about the output that could be achieved over a sustained period.”He added “planned work” had to be completed before the plant could begin operating.

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