SEPA monitors water level at 392 sites
throughout Scotland. This section of the website provides level
data for the last few days for 335 of these stations. Most of
the stations are sited on rivers; however data from several tide
and loch level recorders are also displayed.
Fishermen, canoeists and other river users can
use the information on these pages to help with planning their
River level data is collected at gauging
stations using a variety of electronic sensors and data
loggers. Many of the data loggers are connected to the
telephone network, enabling SEPA to collect the data over the
phone. Data from these telemetry stations is collected
automatically once a day. Sometimes data is collected more
frequently for operational reasons.
Data is transferred from our data management
system to the web site once an hour, at about 20 past the hour, so
if data is collected by SEPA it should appear on the web site
within the hour.
The system that manages the data displayed on
this web site is the same system that collects data for our flood
warning service. During flood warning events if the data feed
to the web site adversely affects performance for flood warning
purposes then it is possible that the data feed to the web site
will be switched off temporarily. This will only be done if
Occasionally, data for a site may be
unavailable or incorrect. This is generally caused by a failure
with instrumentation, the telephone network or in one of the
computer systems that process the data. Problems will generally be
resolved within a period of a day up to a week, depending on the
nature of the problem. Where a problem is expected to last
longer than a week an explanatory note may be placed in the
comments on the graph page for the station.
The level graphs show the change in level over
the past two days and on the current day. An increase in river
level is normally associated with rainfall in the catchment.
However, certain sites are subject to artificial control by, for
instance, hydro power stations that may artificially influence the
level of the river. Some stations are tidal sites, or river
level sites affected by the tide. At these stations the water
level rises and falls several metres twice each day.
The graphs show the water level relative to a
local datum and may not directly represent the depth of water
between the river bed and the surface.
To give the user some perspective of the
relative level of the river figures for the maximum, minimum and
average of the recorded level are shown. These figures are
based on our digital river level records and it is possible that
higher or lower values have been recorded, but are not available in
The maximum value given may be the maximum
value ever recorded at the station and in some cases this will be
an extremely high level which will be seen only rarely at the
The minimum level given is the minimum level
on record and may be the result of an extreme event. When
considering low levels it should be understood that river bed
conditions can vary naturally from year to year affecting the level
recorded at low flows. For example the level on the Annan at
Woodfoot in summer of 2010 was 200mm higher than the level the
previous summer with the same flow in the river.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Why have SEPA changed the river level web
A: The original river level web site was structured in a
way that made it difficult to maintain or expand. The
transfer of data from the SEPA data management system was also less
reliable than required.
The design of the new site makes it much easier to add
stations. Station information is updated automatically making
maintenance of the site almost completely automatic. The data
transfer system has been redeveloped to remove many of the steps
involved in the transfer. This transfer system will be more
reliable than the old method.
Q: Why do SEPA record river
A: The main reason that SEPA records river
levels is to calculate the flows in the river. Knowledge of
the flow of water in a river is important in order to effectively
manage that water. River flow information is also useful in
evaluating changes in the environment due to changes in land use or
climate change. Flood warning is one of the main drivers for
collecting river level data.
Q: Why can't SEPA update data on the
site more frequently?
A: Under normal circumstances data is
collected for operational reasons by our data management system
once per day. At certain times SEPA require more up to date
data and stations are polled more often.
This site is updated from our data management
system once per hour, so if data is collected by SEPA for operation
reasons then the up to date data will appear on this site within
Q: Why can't SEPA provide real time
river level information during flood events?
A: This site can only support hourly updates
and is not designed for the frequency of updates that would be
required to monitor a flood event.
We would advise users to visit the flooding
pages for the most up to date information on flooding in their
area. Click on 'Flood Info.' on the page toolbar.
Q: Should I use the information on
this web site for flood risk or other assessment
A: The information on this site is intended to
give users a general picture of river levels over the past few
days. Additional information, such as maximum recorded level,
has been provided to help put the current levels into
context. While every effort has been made to provide accurate
information it is possible that the information on the site is not
the most up to date or accurate information available.
Therefore SEPA would not recommend using the information given here
as the basis for any sort of formal assessment.
Q: The station I’m interested has been
without data for ages, why isn’t it getting fixed?
A: SEPA’s Hydrometry team will repair issues
at gauging stations for operational reasons as soon as practically
possible. Some of the things that can affect our gauging
stations can be fairly major issues and can take a long time to
repair. Issues that have affected our gauging stations in the
- Stations burnt to the ground by vandals.
- 100m of main telephone line to gauging station destroyed by
- Bridge providing access to station and supporting telephone
line destroyed by flooding
The graph page now has a comment field where
the public can be kept informed about major station issues that may
affect the data displayed on the web site.
Q: Why doesn't SEPA provide levels for
all of its gauging stations?
A: SEPA has records for river levels at 563
sites around Scotland. Some of those sites are now
closed or are not connected by wire or wireless networks
(telemetry) but are manually downloaded once per month. These
sites could not usefully be included on this site. A small
number of sites that are connected by telemetry are not suitable
for display on the site due to data quality issues or issues
relating to sensitivity of the data. Data from approximately
330 stations are displayed on the site.
Q: SEPA have continuous monitoring of
other parameters, such as rainfall, water temperature and water
quality. Why isn’t that data available on the
A: We are hopeful that this site can be
extended to display other parameters at some time in the future
when time and resources permit.
Q: What does the current level
A: The current level Indicator has been
introduced to help users put the last recorded river level into the
context of previously recorded levels at that station. The
latest level is highlighted on the indicator by the dashed line and
adjacent pointer. The range of high, low and normal levels
has been identified as red, blue and green areas.
For the purposes of this indicator the ranges
have been defined as follows;
- High – Above the median annual maximum
- Normal – Between the median annual minimum
and the median annual maximum
- Low – Below the median annual minimum
The definition of these ranges is indicative
only. Levels in the normal range may still be considered high
in some respect and may be extremely dangerous for some
Q: How can I obtain level, rainfall or
flow data from SEPA?
A: Please use the following email address
or contact your local office (http://apps.sepa.org.uk/map/index.html).
You can download the data used for this website, details are