SEPA helps businesses across Scotland as significant water scarcity continues to affect areas despite flooding

Despite flooding, areas in Scotland are continuing to be affected by significant water scarcity, including in Galloway where local farmers say the drought is the “most severe witnessed in a generation”.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency says water scarcity continues to affect areas in Scotland despite flooding (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell).The Scottish Environment Protection Agency says water scarcity continues to affect areas in Scotland despite flooding (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell).
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency says water scarcity continues to affect areas in Scotland despite flooding (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell).

The latest water situation report shows that action is needed now to protect water resources across Scotland, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The latest weekly Water Scarcity Situation Report from SEPA shows that, despite heavy rainfall and thundery showers across much of mainland Scotland last week and rainfall forecast this weekend, the majority of the country is still seeing the impacts of water scarcity.

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SEPA is working closely with businesses and individuals abstracting water to find alternative water sources in areas affected by lack of water as a result of recent warm and dry weather.

Specific areas affected by significant scarcity are Wigtownshire area of Galloway and the Wick area of Caithness.

Orkney, Wester Isles, Helmsdale and Naver, Doon, Ayr, Clyde and Irvine are all classified as under moderate water scarcity.

Over the coming week, some surface water recovery is likely in areas where there is rainfall.

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However, a significant and sustained period of rainfall is needed to alleviate the very dry ground conditions and low river flows that persist across much of the country.

Most catchments in the south of Scotland and many catchments down the east coast as well as a few west coast catchments are currently in alert.

The rest of the country is an early warning state with the exception of Spey, Loch Linnhe and Lochy which remain in normal conditions.

Working with Girvan Early Growers, a co-operative of local farmers in Ayrshire, SEPA is looking at alternative sources of water to irrigate their crops.

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Andrew Young, Chairman of Girvan Early Growers said: “Over the last 30 years we have invested as heavily in irrigation equipment as we could to try and make best use of the water available for our high value crops.

“Through good dialogue with our local SEPA representative, we have managed to sort out water availability and kept our customers supplied with the quality required. However, this year, despite the investment and support to avoid this situation, we are struggling as the drought is the most severe we have witnessed in a generation.”

SEPA has said is engaging directly with operators that hold abstraction licenses to advise of the ongoing situation, ensure best practice is being followed and help find solutions.

A fast track of CAR licences is being implemented to support businesses in areas of Significant Water Scarcity and will implement a temporary suspension of abstraction to protect the environment in areas of Significant Water Scarcity where required.

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, said:  “Everyone agrees that water is a vital resource and everyone has a part to play in reducing their water usage where possible.

"We will continue to work closely with businesses who abstract water to advise on the best possible use of their resources and share best practice.

“SEPA is monitoring the situation closely and rivers in the north are particularly low so plants and animals in those waters will be more at risk as a result.

"We are also receiving increased reports of Cyanobacteria blue green algae blooms which can occur naturally in warm dry weather.

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