In our blogs we’ve talked a lot about water stress in the south-east of England, the driest region in the UK. The assumption tends to be that, because Scotland is a wet country, it will always have enough water - given that the Western Highlands is one of the wettest places in Europe. However, Scotland is also experiencing the effects of climate change and has experienced 10 of its warmest years ever in the last 25 years. Add to this the uneven distribution of rainfall across the region, and it’s not surprising to learn there are now areas of Scotland experiencing water scarcity.
Research undertaken by the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) has shown that climate change is impacting lochs and reservoirs in south-east Scotland. Between 2015 and 2019, 97% of the monitored lochs and reservoirs increased in temperature by up to 1.0°C per year, with 9% increasing by up to 1.3°C per year. Warmer waters are more likely to be affected by algal blooms which lower the flush rates and also release toxins into the water, with a consequent loss in water quality. Unless something is done, waters across the whole of Scotland could be affected by 2040.
The report’s authors call for urgent action to be taken across Scotland in order to “safeguard the integrity, biodiversity and sustainable use of the water environment, for people and for nature”.
In June this year, despite the rainfall, areas of Scotland were put on alert for water scarcity. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) reported that there had only been above-average rainfall for four of the last 12 months, river flows were low, groundwater levels were the lowest since records began in 2009, and the east of Scotland had experienced its driest January for more than 80 years.
Thankfully, by September, a significant amount of rainfall meant that conditions were back to normal across a large part of the country, but some areas of the east coast remained on alert.
It's clear that water scarcity is already a problem in Scotland and will continue to get worse unless action is taken. SEPA's Head of Water and Planning, recently told the BBC that climate change will mean water scarcity will be "even more frequent" in the future. Ways of conserving water therefore need to be considered as vital for the future supplies of potable water in Scotland as they are in other areas of the UK. And we need to act at government, business and individual levels.
This is why businesses in Scotland and around the UK must introduce water efficiency measures as soon as possible. If you would like to improve your business water efficiency, book a water efficiency audit to find out how you can start saving water. By improving business water efficiency you can achieve real benefits, save money, reduce your carbon footprint and preserve natural resources for future generations.
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