Water scarcity fears as Scots use 150 million extra litres in two weeks

Reservoirs are at a lower capacity than normal levels amid soaring temperatures and a spell of low rainfall.

Scots are using more than 150 million litres more water a day amid warnings over shortages during warm weather.

Scottish Water has cautioned the country’s reservoirs are under strain as households continue to drain supplies during the summer months.

First Minister Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) have both raised serious concerns over water scarcity in recent weeks.

Scottish Water’s economic demand manager, Brian McCarthy, said those using supplies must be “mindful” of the impact on the rest of the country.

Brian McCarthy urged customers to be 'mindful' when using water supplies.

“Our volume of water that we see going out with customers has gone up by around about 150 million litres a day over the last two weeks,” he told STV News.

“And we believe that that’s mainly due to outdoor use. We are needing to top up the tank a little bit because the demand or the volume of water that’s being consumed by our customers has gone up in recent times.

“What we’d like to do is make sure that people use water efficiently so that we can safeguard supplies right through the summer. In the garden, maybe not use a sprinkler or a hose, choose to use a watering can instead, or if you’re in the kitchen, make sure that your washing machine is fully loaded or your dishwasher is fully loaded so that you’re making the best use of the water that you do use.”

The FM convened a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience room (SGRR) in response to plummeting water levels earlier this week.

SEPA previously warned reservoir levels are currently at 85% – 4% lower than average for this time of year and 6% lower than this time last year.

The Loch Maree area has been raised to the significant water scarcity level – the highest level – and the Ness and Esk areas have increased to moderate water scarcity.

“While there is no immediate risk to public water supplies, water levels are much lower than usual for the time of year, particularly in parts of north and southern Scotland,” Yousaf said.

“With little significant rain forecast, shortages could become more likely and potentially more widespread.

“Everyone needs to use water responsibly. I urge businesses and the public to follow the guidance provided by SEPA and Scottish Water on the measures that need to be taken.”

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