Water shortage: Restrictions lifted at Fife river after heavy rain

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A ban on removing water from a Fife river because of the recent hot dry spell has been lifted.

The water abstraction suspensions imposed by regulator SEPA – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency – on the River Eden were ended just days after being imposed.

The change came after some heavy rainfalls, and the compliance of local farmers most affected by the move.

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SEPA said river flows in the area have made some recovery after several days of wet weather and peaked on Monday.

Water supplies are running low due to the extended dry period and warm weather.Water supplies are running low due to the extended dry period and warm weather.
Water supplies are running low due to the extended dry period and warm weather.

They have since slowly fallen again but still remain nearly two-and-a-half times higher than they were on Saturday, before abstraction ceased and the rainfall arrived.

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However, in the Scottish Borders, the recent rainfall has not been enough to make up for longer-term deficits and recovery in the River Tweed.

To prevent further stress and harm on the local water environment, SEPA will be imposing suspensions on water abstraction licences in parts of this catchment from 23:59 on Thursday 18 August.

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More prolonged dry weather is forecast and SEPA will continue to monitor conditions and take appropriate action until the risk of water scarcity has reduced.

As has been the case throughout this summer, the east of Scotland has been particularly affected by water scarcity.

In order for water levels to return to normal conditions, the country would need to experience up to double the amount of rainfall it would usually have in August.

Water abstraction suspensions are being lifted in the River Eden catchment after strong compliance from farming community and recent rainfall.

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Suspensions are being imposed in parts of the River Tweed catchment from 11.59om on Thursday (August 18) as the river continues to show signs of stress, and little improvement from limited recent rainfall.

A total of 56 full suspensions and 23 partial suspensions were put in place on Sunday.

Exemptions were given to a small number of soft fruit farmers, following a Ministerial Direction from Scottish Government.

SEPA officers have been engaging with farmers in the area since the suspensions came into effect and reported no non-compliances.

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Instead, they witnessed good practice with farmers taking the right steps to protect local water environments and having planned ahead for the conditions by using alternative water sources such as boreholes.