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Scotland's Water

 

What is it?

What is it?

Extensive Groundwater
Scotland's groundwater provides 75% of private drinking water, mainly in rural Scotland, and 16% of Scotland’s public water supply.
Rivers and Canals
Scotland has approximately 125,000 km of rivers and 220 km of canals.
Rivers & canals
Lochs
There are over 25,500 lochs in Scotland, with the Western Isles and Sutherland having the highest concentration of lochs.
Freshwater lochs
Long Coastline
Scotland has around 19,000 km of coastline, which makes up 8% of Europe's coast.
Water
Productive Seas
Scotland's seas support around 6,500 species of plants and animals.
Offshore waters

 

Good Water Environment

Good Water Environment

Recreation
It has been estimated that freshwater angling across Scotland supports around 2,800 jobs, generating nearly £50 million in wages and self-employment income for Scottish households.
Rivers & canals
Fishing / Aquaculture
Scotland produces 93% of all farmed Atlantic salmon in the EU
Aquaculture
Supports Habitats, Plants and Animals
Scotland has internationally important numbers of 24 species of breeding seabirds
Offshore waters
Tourism
Tourism based on Scotland’s landscapes is estimated to be worth £420 million a year to the economy
Landscape
Drinking Water
Two thirds of Scotland's public water supply comes from manmade reservoirs, rivers and burns and. The rest is taken from natural lochs, boreholes and springs
Drinking Water Quality in Scotland 2012

Pressures

Pressures

Urbanisation
It is estimated that land claim has led to the loss of 45-55% of the Forth estuary’s intertidal areas over the last 400 years.
Estuaries
Intensive Agriculture / Aquaculture
The condition of the beds, banks and shores of 22% of Scotland’s rivers, estuaries and coastal waters has been adversely affected by land uses and pressures such as overgrazing of bankside vegetation.
CCCF consultation doc Scotland RBD
Weather / Climate
Climate change is predicted to increase temperatures and alter rainfall patterns across Scotland. These changes will affect flows in rivers and water resource availability.
Climate & Land Use Change
Invasive Non-Native Species
Giant hogweed is abundant by rivers and competes for space with native bankside species.
Implementing RBMP
Energy Production
Although hydropower is an important source of renewable energy it causes major impacts on rivers in Scotland. For example low flows in rivers and barriers to fish migration caused by dams.
SWIMI report 2007

Poor Water Environment

Poor Water Environment

Floods / Droughts
Effects of climate change, such as higher temperatures and more frequent weather extremes leading to flooding and droughts, are already happening.
Climate Change Science
Nutrient Enrichment
Excessive inputs of nutrients and organic matter can reduce oxygen levels in the water, which harms aquatic animals.
Rivers & canals
Rural Diffuse Pollution
Rural diffuse pollution is closely linked to land use eg the application of fertiliser to farmland, or forestry plantations; livestock stocking rates on pastureland.
About diffuse pollution
Urban Diffuse Pollution
Car parks can represent a large runoff producing area in the urban environment, which is often contaminated with oil, petrol and toxic metals from cars. Traditionally this would be washed into drains, polluting nearby watercourses.
About diffuse pollution
Loss of Habitats and Species
Heavier rain events will result in more severe spates in many rivers and damage salmon spawning grounds with greater frequency.
Effects on nature - species

 

You can also view our Water Infographic PDF