Water scarcity

SEPA is responsible for the forecast, monitoring and report of the situation facing Scotland's water resources and usually produces a weekly report between May and September.

We all have a role to play in managing our water environment. Businesses must follow conditions in abstraction permits but through the efficient use of water can save money and increase their resilience to the impacts of prolonged dry conditions.

Plan ahead and use water wisely

Your business should plan, monitor and record the water you use and meet the requirements of your abstraction permit. SEPA can help businesses to adapt and become more resilient to periods of prolonged dry weather to help reduce the impact on both your business and the environment.

Water scarcity will increase across Scotland as climate change intensifies and you should be future-proofing your business to manage regular water scarcity.

In the National Water Scarcity Plan SEPA sets out how we will work with water users (authorised abstractors and recreational users) and key organisations, such as Scottish Water, to manage water resources during periods of low rainfall.

Take action to manage water use

  • Plan ahead and know what actions you can take to minimise water use and protect water supplies in your catchment.
  • When irrigating your land, check equipment isn’t leaking, don’t over spray, and use trickle irrigation where appropriate.
  • Follow conditions in your abstraction permit.
  • Stagger abstractions with other operators, reduce the volume used, and irrigate at night where possible.
  • Switch to alternative supplies, like boreholes, or temporarily stop abstracting if you can.
  • Follow conditions in your abstraction permit.

Follow our advice for abstractors and other water users >>

Abstractors must record abstraction volumes, including nil return. Download the data returns form.

Advice and support

Finding information about other water supplies:

  • Private water supplies - Information on how to look after your domestic or commercial private water supplies is available from the Scottish Government.
  • Public water supplies – Scottish Water provides advice about water efficient and can answer enquiries about public water supplies.

Contact us

Please contact us if you need any further advice. You can also help us to assess low flow by submitting information and photographs. Find out more>>