Parts of mid and northern Fife are likely to experience “significant” water scarcity in the next week following a prolonged spell of dry weather, it has been warned.
Environment agency Sepa has urged businesses to reduce their water use due to a lack of rainfall.
Restrictions on businesses in Fife abstracting water could be imposed if the highest water scarcity level is reached as feared.
According to Sepa’s latest water scarcity report, areas around the Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay – along with several other parts of eastern Scotland Scotland – are sitting at “moderate” scarcity, the second-highest level.
‘Water resources are critical in the east’
The report shows that groundwater levels are the lowest they have been since at least 2009, with 2022 seeing the driest January in the east since 1940.
Warnings were issued over water use in Tayside and Fife as early as April.
Nathan Critchlow-Watton, head of water and planning at Sepa, said: “Water resources are critical in the east, with groundwater levels the lowest they have been since records began in 2009 and conditions not expected to improve in the short term.
“Even in parts where there has been some rainfall and an immediate increase in river flows, the areas still remain vulnerable due to longer-term rainfall deficits and very dry ground conditions.
“That is why it is important for businesses that abstract water to take action and reduce their current usage, minimising the effects on the environment.”
He added: “Climate change means water scarcity will become even more frequent.
“We want to work with businesses to plan their water usage long-term, so that we can preserve this vital resource as effectively as possible.
“Not only will that protect Scotland’s rivers and lochs, but it will minimise business risks as well.”