Planning for water scarcity
People and businesses are being urged to use water carefully as dry weather conditions are expected to persist and water demand is rising.
First Minister Humza Yousaf chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room (SGoRR) this afternoon, attended by Deputy First Minister Shona Robison, Justice and Home Affairs Secretary Angela Constance and partners including SEPA, Scottish Water and the Met Office, to consider preparations and mitigations in the event of further water scarcity.
Following a drier than normal winter and spring, water levels in reservoirs are lower than would be expected for this time of year. Scottish Water reports that consumer demand has increased sharply since last weekend putting pressure on reservoirs, treatment works and water mains.
SEPA reports that, in the north of Scotland, the Loch Maree area has been raised to the Significant Water Scarcity level – the highest level - and the Ness area has increased to Moderate Water Scarcity. The Esk area in Dumfriesshire has also increased to Moderate Water Scarcity.
The First Minister said:
“While there is no immediate risk to public water supplies, water levels are much lower than usual for the time of year, particularly in parts of north and southern Scotland. With little significant rain forecast, shortages could become more likely and potentially more widespread.
“Everyone needs to use water responsibly. I urge businesses and the public to follow the guidance provided by SEPA and Scottish Water on the measures that need to be taken.
“The Scottish Government has reopened the emergency scheme to provide bottled water to any homes on private water supplies that need it. Householders should contact their local council if required.
“Businesses extracting water directly from the environment are also being urged to put their water scarcity plans into action now to reduce pressure on the environment.
“The Scottish Government and partners are monitoring the situation closely and considering appropriate measures to mitigate potential future impacts.”