South Uist residents urged to ‘use water wisely’

South Uist has had just 72mm of rain since April, the same amount as fell in June alone last year. Picture: Getty
South Uist has had just 72mm of rain since April, the same amount as fell in June alone last year. Picture: Getty
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WITH bookmakers slashing odds on this summer being the wettest on record, the prospect of a drought is furthest from the minds of most Scots.

But islanders on South Uist have been urged to use water “wisely” after rainfall levels fell below normal.

Despite torrential downpours across the Scottish mainland in recent weeks, the Western Isles have been enjoying an unseasonably dry spell of weather. South Uist has had 72mm of rain since April, the same amount as fell in June alone last year.

The meteorological quirk has led to falling water levels in lochs on the island, prompting Scottish Water to ask people to cut back on their water use. The situation is so serious that the publicly-owned company has revealed it is having to install a temporary overland pipeline to import water from nearby Benbecula.

The utility firm has now written to households throughout the island, asking people to “use water wisely” and advising people as to what steps they can take to reduce their water consumption.

While stopping short of imposing a hosepipe ban, it has suggested that islanders should not use hosepipes to wash the car or water gardens. Other water saving tips include asking people to turn off dripping taps, using water saving devices in toilet cisterns and advising that people take a shower rather than a bath.

Despite warning that the water levels are falling, Scottish Water has reassured islanders that it has measures in place to maintain the water supply and to keep the taps running. It will also continue to monitor water levels, particularly sources serving South Uist, to ensure it can implement measures where necessary to maintain supplies of drinking water to customers

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s chief operating officer, said: “We are encouraging everyone living and working locally to take simple steps to use water wisely.

“Toilet flushing uses around 30 per cent of water in the typical home. While people should use their toilet as normal, installing a Save-a-Flush bag provided by Scottish Water can save around one litre of water every time a toilet is used. People can also help by turning off the tap when brushing teeth and doing a full load of washing instead of a half load.”

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