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Scotland’s water environment is a unique resource and must be protected and managed to ensure it continues to be healthy, safe and sustainable.

Scotland's water is famed worldwide. It's critical in the production and branding of some of our biggest exports, and a big draw for tourists. The water environment in Scotland is generally in good condition. However, there are environmental problems, including diffuse pollution, discharges of waste water, abstractions and historic physical alterations.

The management of water plays a significant role in working towards a circular economy. Worldwide water usage greatly outstrips the resources available, and if everyone lived as we do in Scotland, we would need 3 planets to sustain our current lifestyle.

Furthermore, in a changing climate, we all need to play our part to allow Scotland to tackle this challenge. SEPA is doing this through a new regulatory strategy, One Planet Prosperity. This is supported by a Framework for Water.

SEPA is the lead agency for the River Basin Management Planning (RBMP) in Scotland and in the ideal position to deliver this strategy and framework through our water work. This includes:

  • Working as the lead authority in delivering the river basin management plans and their objectives;
  • Monitoring the water environment by assessing water quality and quantity;
  • Monitoring Scotland's bathing waters and we are committed to supporting Scotland in achieving full compliance with EC Bathing Water Directive Standards; and
  • Protecting, managing and improving Scotland's water environment is also fundamental to safeguarding biodiversity, ensuring that our unique aquatic wildlife is protected including iconic species such as Atlantic salmon.

We must maintain effective working relationships with partners, water users and land managers to reduce or remove potential sources of harm. Our key partners include the Scottish Government, Scottish Water, the hydro-electric sector, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, and the agricultural and aquaculture sectors.

This section of our website gives more information about the work we do, including the Framework for Water, to ensure that Scotland's water environment remains healthy, safe and sustainable.