YET more parts of Scotland are facing critically low river and groundwater levels, according to the latest data.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s (SEPA) latest water scarcity report found that four more areas reached “significant” levels of water scarcity this week.

They are the Rivers Annan and Nith in the southwest, as well as the Black Isle and the Outer Hebrides.

Additionally, no improvement has been recorded in the Loch Maree area of the Highlands, which remains classified as being in significant water scarcity for the fourth week.

However, the Esk in Dumfries and Galloway improved from significant to moderate water scarcity.

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In order to protect the sustainability of local water environments, SEPA has required a small number of farmers on the Black Isle to reduce the volume they take from the Newhall burn.

It states that these licence variations will be for the minimum time necessary and will be lifted as soon as possible.

Nathan Critchlow-Watton, head of water and planning at SEPA, said: “The water environment in parts of Scotland is clearly under stress and protecting it remains our top priority. We recognise the challenges businesses face as a result of these conditions, and we want to support those who are efficient and using the least water to continue operating.

“We will be avoiding full suspensions on water abstractions where possible and instead requiring a significant reduction in the volume of water taken from rivers and lochs.

“Where restrictions are not in place, abstractors are expected to follow SEPA’s advice and guidance for the conditions reported in their areas. This will give water levels a better chance to recover.”

There have been widespread showers across the country this week, with particularly heavy rainfall across central and western Scotland.

This has caused some localised improvement in conditions, with further recovery in Argyll and Bute from alert to early warning. However, the rain has not been sufficient for large-scale recovery, and many areas remain at risk of water scarcity.

Without a period of consistent rain, it’s possible six areas could be escalated to significant water scarcity in early July.

More information, guidance and advice can be found at