SEPA reveals how businesses are taking action to avoid water scarcity this Water Saving Week

  27 May 2022
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is highlighting how businesses are playing their part to protect Scotland’s water environment as part of Water Saving Week 2022.

The annual event has been created by Waterwise to raise awareness of the issues around water use and takes place between Monday 23 May and Friday 27 May. Today, the final day of the campaign, focuses on water and the natural environment.  

Scotland’s climate is changing, and communities are coming to terms with the impacts of more frequent extreme weather events like water scarcity. Climate change is likely to bring more uncertainty and cause problems in new areas. 

Many rivers and watercourses require groundwater to supplement rainfall during the summer months. However, due to a drier than average winter, we are already seeing lower groundwater storage and this could result in water scarcity. 

The latest water situation report, published this week, continues to show an east-west split in the risk of water scarcity: 


  •  Conditions in the west remain at Normal level and there has been some recovery in the south. However, without above-average rainfall in the next few months, the risk of impacts from water scarcity will increase and therefore most of this area stays at Early Warning.  


  • In the east, despite some rainfall over the last week, this has not been enough for recovery and these areas also remain at Early Warning.  


  • Groundwater levels at monitoring sites in the east and south-west remain low for the time of year, while the north and north-east are within normal range.  


SEPA works with businesses all over Scotland to help manage the range of conditions they face and to avoid water scarcity issues where possible. This includes key sectors such as food and drink production, energy, farming and golf. 

Royal Troon in Ayrshire, a world-famous golf club which has hosted several Open Championship tournaments, has demonstrated its commitment to protecting water resources and the environment by investing in more efficient equipment.  

Club Secretary, Stephen Anthony, said: “A reliable clean water source is essential for care and maintenance of the course. The environment and use of water is one of our primary concerns and over watering can actually have a detrimental impact on the species of grass and the playability of the course.  

“Over the past three years, the club has made a major investment in a state-of-the-art replacement irrigation system on all courses, from abstraction from a burn that discharges into the sea after passing through the course, to storage, and to delivery via the sprinkler heads. Unlike our previous system that was virtually all on or all off, this one enables us to target water to where it is needed. We could have one single sprinkler working and all others off. This allows us to use water more efficiently.” 

Head of Water and Planning at SEPA, Nathan Critchlow-Watton, said: “Our aim is to work with businesses to do the right thing and help protect our water environment. Golf is just one industry that is fundamental to that, and it is great to see a club like Royal Troon making such an investment in their irrigation system. This not only ensures the best possible outcome for their own operations but eases pressure on nearby burns and rivers when they are at risk of drought.  

“It is vitally important that Scotland is prepared to deal with water scarcity both now and in the future. SEPA is here to help plan and can advise on a series of straight forward steps for businesses to take such as monitoring water usage and equipment and avoiding any unnecessary leakage. We encourage them to work together and stagger their abstractions to minimise any potential impacts.” 

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 regular reports 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.