COMMUNICATIONS were lost at a Borders water treatment works on Christmas Eve as winter weather caused havoc across the country.

Scottish Water said it faced challenges at Rawburn Water Treatment Works – which supplies communities throughout Berwickshire – over the festive period.

It said all communications were lost when high winds caused trees to fall and damage telephone lines.

Staffing was maintained on site to ensure there was no interruption to the treatment process.

John Griffen, customer water service general manager, said: “The weather over the festive period certainly presented us with many challenges but drawing from experience in previous severe weather events, we implemented comprehensive pre-storm planning."

Stormy conditions which saw heavy rainfall, damaging winds, ice and snow between December 23 and January 3 – including Storm Gerrit – resulted in significant problems for many, especially in the north.

Over the festive period, there were 72 road tanker deployments to help maintain water treatment process and supply in areas where disruption was experienced.

A total of 37 fixed and emergency generators were put into action to maintain power, ensuring treatment works could continue to operate.

These were used from sites in the north including Ullapool and Lochinver, locations in Moray, Rosebery in Midlothian and Daer in South Lanarkshire. Sites in Shetland had to use back-up power due to outages.

The two key interruptions to supply came in the Perth area when a pumping station lost power and an uprooted tree damaged a water main.

Mr Griffen added: “Despite the severity of Storm Gerrit, feedback from customers has been positive about our response to these challenges. The number of contacts from customers about the loss of their normal water supply between December 23 and January 3 was lower than expected.”

Sewer response teams also saw an increase in demand attending blockages in the network and attended various hot spot areas particularly around December 27-29.

Joanne Kay, waste water operations general manager, said: "We saw the impact of flooding on a good number of our assets throughout parts of the country and the teams worked to ensure they could get back on site and start recovery as soon as flood waters subsided.

“The rainfall also led to a spike in calls regarding sewers overwhelmed with flood waters, which our teams were able to respond to and minimise disruption to customers.”