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Water scarcity

Climate change is likely to bring more uncertainty and may exert pressure in areas that have not yet experienced water scarcity. If dry conditions persist across Scotland for a period of time, there becomes an urgency to act to protect water resources for critical activities that support our communities. 

SEPA are responsible for the forecast, monitoring and report of the situation facing Scotland's water resources and produces a regular report during the summer months.

View the latest Water Scarcity Report

Previous water scarcity reports can be requested.

Plan ahead and use water wisely

We all have a role to play in managing our water environment. Businesses must follow conditions in abstraction permits and are advised to plan ahead now to avoid issues later in the year. Through the efficient use of water, businesses can save money and increase their resilience to the impacts of prolonged dry conditions.

Spring/Summer is a crucial time of year for water demand. We have advice for abstractors and irrigators on how to manage water wisely and improve business resilience to prolonged dry conditions.

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

Protect your business from water scarcity

We advise all abstractors to be aware of the potential risk of water scarcity, and for businesses to plan ahead where possible.

  • Always monitor your water usage and plan for managing it efficiently in a range of conditions, with equipment kept in good working order.  Abstractors must record abstraction volumes, including nil return. Download the data returns form.
  • Understand the risk of water scarcity in your area and to your business.
  • Review your current infrastructure and work out the costs and benefits of abstraction and the value of water to your business – this will help you to plan investments in equipment and infrastructure. 
  • Consider if there are more innovative ways of working that would improve your water use efficiency? 

Follow our advice for abstractors and other water users >>

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>>