Further water scarcity alerts issued

  24 June 2022
In the latest report published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Wick and Thurso join eastern parts the country, where Alert level has been reached. Parts of Dumfries and Galloway have been raised to Early Warning Level.

Water scarcity is a growing threat across northern and eastern parts of Scotland with more areas raised to Alert level this week.   

In the latest report published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Wick and Thurso join eastern parts of the country, where businesses that abstract water are being advised to do so more efficiently.   

Groundwater levels are falling and are very low at some monitoring locations, while river flows also remain low for this time of year.  

In the south of Scotland, the Esk, Annan and Dee catchment areas have been raised to Early Warning level. This is due to a combination of dry ground conditions, low rainfall and low river flows.  

SEPA is monitoring the situation and coordinating steps to manage water resources in line with Scotland's National Water Scarcity Plan.  

Head of Water and Planning at SEPA, Nathan Critchlow-Watton said: “The weather conditions in June have been dry across most of the country so far, with many areas seeing below average rainfall over the last three weeks.  

“There is still a broadly east-west split in the risk of water scarcity and we are continuing to monitor the situation closely. Earlier this year, SEPA warned that water scarcity conditions could deteriorate quickly if dry weather continues, and we are seeing this happen across Scotland as warning levels increase and expand to more areas each week.   

“Businesses can play a part in protecting the environment by following our advice on using water efficiently and having a plan for when resources start to deplete.  

“Water scarcity will become a more regular occurrence in Scotland as a result of climate change, but SEPA is here to help minimise the impacts on both the environment and key sectors across the country.” 

More information about water scarcity and the latest report can be found at www.sepa.org.uk/waterscarcity.   


Notes to editors 

  • The latest report and information about Scotland’s water situation can be found here.    
  • 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.  
  • The National Water Scarcity Plan explains how water resources will be managed prior to and during periods of prolonged dry weather. This is to ensure the correct balance is struck between protecting the environment and providing resource for human and economic activity.  
  • The weekly report categorises the water situation across Scotland through a five-tiered approach. Appropriate action should be taken within these five categories: 

Normal Conditions 

Abstract as normal.  

Early warning 

Start to consider how you can optimise water use efficiency.  


If you are irrigating your land, check equipment, don’t over spray, use trickle irrigation and irrigate at night to avoid evaporation.  

Moderate scarcity 

In prolonged dry periods, reduce abstractions by staggering with other operators, reduce the volume and switch to other supplies or suspend your abstractions.  

Significant scarcity 

This means Scotland’s water resources are becoming scarce - switch supplies or temporarily stop abstracting.