EXCEPTIONAL measures have been granted to maintain public water supply on Skye due to the prolonged period of dry weather.

Transport and Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan has authorised Scottish Water to increase the amount of water it takes from a burn flowing from a loch in a conservation area to ensure public water supply to the village of Broadford on Skye.

The Scottish Government agreed with a recommendation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) which enables Scottish Water to increase abstraction levels from the Allt a’ Mhuilinn burn.

It flows from a loch that is a designated Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest for macrophytes, a type of plant.

Scottish Water said it does not anticipate any negative environmental impact.

Skye has reached moderate scarcity alert, the second highest warning level, in the latest Sepa report as the dry weather continues, with every part of Scotland having now reached some level of scarcity.

Ms McAllan said: “I have worked with Sepa and Scottish Water to allow prompt action to be taken to ensure that there is no risk to the public water supply to Broadford.

“Our partner agencies have advised that this is an isolated incident related to specific circumstances in the Broadford area.

“The steps we have taken will permit Scottish Water to maintain the public water supply until they can put a longer-term solution in place.

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“Everyone needs to use water responsibly. I urge businesses and the public to continue to follow the guidance provided by Sepa and Scottish Water on the measures we all should be taking as long as the outlook remains dry.”

Kes Juskowiak, water operations manager at Scottish Water, said: “We have seen a rapid drop of reservoir level on Skye and while working to bring in an alternative source we are increasing abstraction levels at this site for a short period of time.

“We do not anticipate any negative environmental impact.

“As always, we encourage our customers to use their water wisely.”

Sepa warned that a third of areas in Scotland will be at significant water scarcity level by June 30 if there is no recovery in river levels.

The Loch Maree area in the Highlands reached “significant”, the highest risk level, last week and remains there this week.

The Ness remains at moderate scarcity, the second highest level, and is joined by the Inner Hebrides, parts of the central belt, and the whole Southwest.

The rest of Scotland is in Alert, with the exception of the Shetland islands at Early Warning.

A Sepa spokesman said: “All parts of Scotland are now facing some level of water scarcity. The Isle of Skye has reached Moderate scarcity in our latest report, the second highest warning level.

“As a result of this prolonged dry weather, Sepa has received a request from Scottish Water for a temporary abstraction licence in Broadford to help supplement normal public supply with water from the Allt a’ Mhuilinn burn.

“We’re currently working with Scottish Water to ensure the needs of the local community in Broadford are met, while carefully balancing the protection of the local water environment.”