Scottish Water Issues Autumn Water Use Warning
Utility company Scottish Water has issued a warning to people around Scotland to make sure they use water efficiently this autumn in order to ensure normal supplies are maintained after a record dry period saw reservoir levels hit serious lows.
Officials from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) say that the significant rainfall deficit seen in recent months means that we’ll need to see double the typical amount of rainfall in autumn to see water levels return to normal for this time of year.
Simple actions can be taken to reduce water usage and consumption, including taking shorter showers, ensuring that washing machines and dishwashers are fully loaded, and turning off taps when not in use. Businesses and commercial sites are also being asked to reduce non-essential water use.
Work is also being undertaken to supplement water sources and make adjustments to the country’s networks, with new infrastructure installed in reservoirs, water leak detection taking place and work being carried out with industrial customers to provide other sources to safeguard supplies.
Data from the Met Office shows that the north and west of the country saw its driest April to September in 160 years, while for the entire country, this was also the second driest period on record.
National operations manager for Scottish Water Kes Juskowiak said: “People might assume that, because we are into autumn and there has been some rain recently, and autumn is usually cooler and wetter, water saving is no longer an issue.
“Maintaining normal public water supplies remains a significant challenge for us. This is an unusual call in the autumn, but we are experiencing exceptional circumstances due to a significant rainfall deficit. Hopefully, autumn will bring some respite, but we need heavy and prolonged rainfall to get reservoir levels back up towards normal levels for this time of year.”
He went on to say that weather systems are being constantly monitored around Scotland, assessing the impact on water sources.
Back in August, the utility firm observed that storage levels in reservoirs across Scotland were at 66 per cent, which was the lowest recorded for the time of year since 2003. At the time, demand for water remained up to 100 million litres per day above average – enough to fill 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools or 1.2 million baths.
Commenting on the situation Scotland now finds itself in, head of water and planning at the SEPA David Harley noted that the country is, indeed, facing a climate emergency, with more frequent extreme weather events being seen, everything from significant water scarcity to heavy rainfall, sea level rises and flash floods.
He went on to say that short-term wet weather is being seen alongside longer-term prolonged dry spells, which leads to immediate challenges but also poses problems for the medium term and well into 2022.
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