When it comes to looking after Scotland’s water resources, responsibilities are shared among various agencies.
Local authorities and public bodies, like ourselves, along with Scottish Natural Heritage and the National Parks, utilities companies such as Scottish Water, as well as farms, fisheries, industry bodies and many community and environmental groups all have a stake in our environment.
Protecting our water environment so that we can enjoy the many benefits it brings us requires a flexible, partnership working approach among all these organisations.
Find out more about some of our key partners below.
Environment matters are devolved to the Scottish Government whose role it is to create legislation that will protect the environment and improve it for present and future generations.
The background to the establishment of Scotland’s current water management systems goes back to 2000 and the introduction of an ambitious piece of European legislation called the Water Framework Directive. This resulted in the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (WEWS Act) becoming law in Scotland.
The Act gave Scottish ministers powers to introduce regulatory controls over water activities in order to protect, improve and promote sustainable use of Scotland’s waters ‘from source to sea’. This includes wetlands, rivers, lochs, estuaries, coastal waters, bathing waters and groundwater.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is Scotland’s nature and landscape conservation body. Their concern is with managing and protecting the rich resources in the land, air and waters of Scotland. They also provide advice on best practice to the Scottish Government and work closely with local authorities and other public bodies to make Scotland’s environment as healthy as it can be.
SNH’s work is about caring for the natural heritage, enabling people to enjoy it, helping people to understand and appreciate it, and supporting those who manage it. They issue policy and guidance on a range of initiatives from tourism to oil and gas exploration, via forestry and woodlands, deer management and rural development.
Scottish Water is responsible for the network of water and sewer pipes. They provide 1.3 billion litres of fresh drinking water to homes and businesses across Scotland – enough to fill 52 Olympic-sized swimming pools – every day. They maintain over 30,000 miles of sewer pipes, enough to go round the UK coastline three times, and over 1,800 treatment works which take away 840 million litres of waste water every day before returning it safely back into the water cycle.
Scottish Water is a publicly owned company, answerable to the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland.
Visit their website to find out more about Scottish Water and for tips on how to use water carefully in your home – from fixing dripping taps and swapping your garden hose for a watering can to taking care over what you dispose of down the drain.