Water scarcity alert extended in east of Scotland

  10 June 2022
More parts of Scotland have reached Alert level for water scarcity in the latest report from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Recent rainfall has not been enough for recovery in the east, and conditions have continued to get drier in Dundee, Fife, Falkirk, East Lothian and northeast Aberdeenshire.

Alert level requires businesses which rely on water from the environment to start taking action to ensure they are being efficient, including checks of their equipment and abstracting at night to minimise evaporation.

Multiple industries in Scotland rely on a consistent water resource for their operations including farming, whisky production, golf and hydropower energy.

There continues to be a split for water scarcity in Scotland, with most of the west experiencing normal conditions and the east at an Early Warning stage.

Head of Water and Planning at SEPA, Nathan Critchlow-Watton, said: “The deterioration in the east is due to a combination of dry ground conditions and low river flows.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and manage water resources in line with Scotland's National Water Scarcity Plan.

“Businesses can play their part to protect 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 we’re here to help and 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.  
  • 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.