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SEPA publish first Water Scarcity Report of summer 2024

Date published: 10 May 2024


Week in, week out across the summer period, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) report on water environment resilience to support key sectors like agriculture, tourism, and food and drink - helping businesses be assured, or have early visibility of and time to adapt to potential emerging water scarcity.

As the authority responsible for forecasting, monitoring and reporting on the situation facing Scotland's water resources, SEPA publish a Water Scarcity Report every Friday during the summer months. The first Water Scarcity Report of summer 2024 has now been issued.

The weekly report highlights regions at potential risk of water scarcity to inform water users, support businesses that abstract water from the environment, and promote water environment resilience.

Each report provides information on rainfall and river flows, soil moisture deficit, and water levels in the ground, lochs and reservoirs, and categorises regions according to a five-tier approach, from Normal Conditions to Significant Scarcity. The overall risk of water scarcity takes several factors into account such as relevant water use, sectors in each region, and forecast weather conditions.

While current conditions remain normal across most of the country after a wet winter and early spring, Northwest Highlands and Inner Hebrides have been raised to Early Warning for water scarcity due to lower-than-average rainfall.

Stephen McGuire, Senior Hydrology Specialist at SEPA, said: “It would be easy to look at the amount of rain Scotland has seen over the winter and early spring and think that water scarcity isn’t an issue. The risk is currently low as a result, but the reality is the situation can change very quickly should we have drier than average conditions over the summer.

“Summer is a crucial time of year for water demand, and it’s important water users and abstractors are aware of the risk of water scarcity so we can all help reduce pressure on the water environment.” 

Notes to Editor