Water-scarce areas of Scotland on highest level of alert

Scottish Government funding will be made available to Local Authorities and Scottish Water to ensure that emergency supplies of drinking water are provided to communities where their private water supplies have run dry

A recent Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) report has upgraded many parts of Scotland to a state of “significant” water scarcity.

The document finds that areas such as north-east Scotland, Ayr and Irvine had sufficiently low water levels to justify being moved to the highest level of alert.

“North East Scotland, North Highland and the Clyde, Ayr and Irvine have moved to Significant Scarcity due to evidence of ecological impacts resulting from a protracted period of exceptionally low flows,” it states.

“It will require at least a month of rainfall significantly wetter than normal to alleviate the current water scarcity.”

Although heavy rain spells have occurred across parts of the country during the current UK heat wave, it has not been abundant enough to alleviate the very low river levels across Scotland.

Lower river levels have meant an increasing area of river bed is becoming exposed and in parts of rivers where there is water, it is shallow and slow-flowing. The report emphasised the environmental impact this has.

“These conditions have also led to some high river water temperatures, all of which put stress on river plants, fish and other animals.”

Scottish Water has advised citizens to use water “wisely”. Forecasts are unclear as to whether there will be enough inland rainfall to improve the scarcity situation in the country.
“It is highly likely that by the end of July, Scotland will have had the driest six-month period (Feb –Jul) since 1984,” the document commented.

Despite this, normal public water supplies have not yet been affected. The agency plan on coordinating efforts to manage resources consistent with measures outlined in Scotland’s National Water Scarcity Plan.

“By taking the right steps now, businesses that abstract water can help make the water supplies on which they and others depend last as long as possible through this period.”