OFFICIALS are warning that water scarcity is a growing threat for the Borders.

Despite recent rainfall the east of Scotland has seen more areas raised to Alert level by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

According to SEPA the Borders has now joined Aberdeenshire, Tayside, Fife and te Lothians where businesses which abstract water from the environment are being asked to do so more efficiently.

As groundwater levels continue to fall – with some monitoring areas a very low levels – and river flows are also low for the time of year.

The environmental body warns that if these dry periods continue the Alert level would rise to Moderate Scarcity.

A Moderate Scarcity warning would see water users encouraged to reduce the volume of water they use or suspend abstractions on a temporary basis.

Head of water and planning at SEPA, Nathan Critchlow-Watton said: “In March this year, SEPA warned that water scarcity conditions could deteriorate quickly if dry weather continues. We are seeing that happen now in the east of Scotland as warning levels increase and expand to more areas each week.

“We have been working with businesses to ensure they have a plan to deal with water scarcity that protects their operations and the environment.

"This should include carrying out checks to their equipment, considering upcoming water needs and following best practice such as irrigating at night.

“Water is a finite resource, even in Scotland, and pressures on the water environment will only get worse with climate change.

"By following our advice and working together, we can all play a part to reduce the impacts.”

SEPA continues to monitor the situation and is working to manage water resources as part of Scotland's National Water Scarcity Plan.

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