Tayside and Aberdeenshire businesses warned of low water levels

  06 May 2022
Parts of Tayside and Aberdeenshire have reached early warning level in the latest water scarcity report published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

An early warning for water scarcity in parts of Tayside and Aberdeenshire is being issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

The latest water situation report published by SEPA shows dry weather continues to affect river flows and groundwater levels. The southern half of the country had already reached early warning stage at the end of April, though rainfall over the last week has improved conditions in Argyll.

Businesses which abstract water in affected areas are asked to start considering how they can be more efficient to protect both the environment and their own operations. This includes checking for any leaks in equipment and considering water requirements over the coming weeks and months.

Many sectors in Scotland rely on a consistent water source including farming, food and drink production, hydro energy and golf courses. Water users are issued abstraction permits by SEPA which have requirements to help manage the water environment.

David Harley, Interim Chief Officer Circular Economy for SEPA, said: “Although Scotland is generally considered a wet country, we are seeing how it could become vulnerable to periods of dry weather. Climate change projections indicate a decrease in summer rainfall and many areas could face pressures on water resources, even if they have not experienced this before.

“Businesses have a part to play to reduce the pressure. They should plan, monitor and record their water use and ensure they are operating at maximum efficiency by avoiding any unnecessary leakage.

“We can provide further advice and guidance on a series of straightforward steps that can be taken. Whilst our first aim is always to help people do the right thing, we can hold to account businesses who deliberately fail to follow the abstraction guidelines set out by SEPA.”

Business can find out more information about water scarcity and how to prepare on our website.


Notes to editors

  • SEPA is responsible for the forecasting, monitoring, and reporting on the status of Scotland's water resources and produces a regular report between May and September.
  • The latest report and information about Scotland’s water situation can be found here
  • The National Water Scarcity Planexplains how water resources will be managed prior to and during periods of prolonged dry weather. This is to ensure the correct balance between protecting the environment and providing water for people and businesses.
  • The 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.