DESPITE recent rainfall, the risk of water scarcity has increased in the east of Scotland.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) warned that conditions are unlikely to improve in the following week, due to low levels of rainfall forecast.

They put out a statement detailing that areas in the east of Scotland have continued to get drier across June and July, and that if dry conditions persist for a period of time, there becomes an “urgency” to act to protect water resources.

The Ythan in the north-east of Scotland has been raised to “moderate scarcity”, and in addition Irvine in the west and Ayr in the south-west have been raised to “early warning” levels.

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SEPA’s Water and Land Manager, Jennifer Leonard, said: “The water scarcity picture in eastern parts of Scotland is just one of the many consequences of climate change the country faces, and its severity is only likely to increase in the future.

“We want to work with businesses to plan their water usage long-term so that we can preserve this vital resource as effectively as possible. Not only will that protect Scotland’s rivers and lochs, but it will minimise business risks as well.”

Previous research from the group climatexchange found that Scotland will experience more frequent and more severe droughts in the coming decades due to climate change, and that this will influence water availability for drinking water, agriculture and ecosystems.