A new ban on extracting water from rivers in the east of Scotland has come into force after water scarcity rose to a ‘significant’ level in some areas.
Water abstraction licences have been suspended on the River Tyne in East Lothian, River Ythan in Aberdeenshire and the Lower Tweed in the Borders.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said the suspensions were necessary to protect the sustainability of local water environments following weeks of prolonged dry weather and critically low river and groundwater levels.
Suspensions on water abstractions have now been lifted in the Upper Tweed.
The pause on water abstractions will take effect from 00.01am on Thursday, September 1 and will be in place for the minimum time necessary for conditions to improve.
SEPA said it will monitor the impact of any rain forecast and lift suspensions as soon as possible.
Nathan Critchlow-Watton, head of water and planning at SEPA, said: “In the affected areas the current conditions are extremely serious and, without action, there is a substantial risk of impacts on fish populations, natural habitats and longer-term damage to watercourses.
“We recognise the impacts caused by suspending water abstractions, however it is action we cannot avoid. The sustainability of local water environments is vital to everyone, including farmers, and we continue to work closely with all those who rely on them to ensure they are protected.
“Managing water scarcity has been a challenge for many businesses and we are grateful to all those who have complied with and continue to support the necessary restrictions. It is only by working together like this that we can overcome this challenge, both now and in the future.”