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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.

Much of our water environment is already in a good condition and subject to fewer pressures than most other European waters.

However, there are a number of significant environmental problems including diffuse pollution, discharges, abstractions and historic physical alterations.

The river basin management planning (RBMP) process sets objectives to protect, manage and improve the water environment throughout the country. We are the lead authority in delivering the river basin management plans and their objectives.

We are also the lead authority for Flood Risk Management Planning and SEPA is the flood warning authority for Scotland.

We monitor the water environment by assessing water quality and quantity.

We monitor Scotland’s bathing waters and we are committed to supporting Scotland in achieving full compliance with EC Bathing Water Directive Standards.

Protecting, managing and improving Scotland’s water environment is also fundamental to safeguarding biodiversity, ensuring that our unique aquatic wildlife is protected.

It is important that we 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 to ensure that Scotland’s water environment remains healthy, safe and sustainable.