Irrigation restrictions are still on hold

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RECENT cloudbursts have helped ease the pressure on water resources used for field irrigation over the past week – but rainfall has been sporadic and while heavy in some areas, others have had little or no rainfall.

So far, however, no restrictions are planned for irrigator usage. That was the update issued yesterday by NFU Scotland following on-going discussions with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa).

The union added that there had been no catchment meetings with farmers planned by Sepa, stating that this was normally the first step taken before any restrictions were imposed.

“However, Sepa is keeping an eye on some watercourses and will review the situation again on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.”

Sepa itself said that message at present remained the same – those farmers with the appropriate authorisation could continue to irrigate but should continue to use water efficiently.

“There are currently no additional restrictions on water abstraction but we will continue to monitor the situation, with a particular focus on the worst affected areas,” said the agency.

“If it becomes necessary, Sepa can issue fast track licences to allow new temporary abstractions or modify conditions in existing licences and we will be working with licence holders and trade associations to minimise the impacts of the recent dry spell.

The agency said that it continued to advise landowners and operators to preserve water supplies where possible and to contact their local Sepa office if they have concerns or queries. It also highlighted the fact that any unauthorised abstractions or impoundments would lead to enforcement action and recommend that growers should contact their local Sepa office for advice to ensure compliance with the regulations.