SCOTLAND'S environment watchdog has said ground water levels have returned to normal across much of the country following weeks of warnings about scarcity in some regions.

However, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is urging businesses not to be complacent about the situation as problems could easily arise again if another prolonged period of dry weather sets in.

The body’s latest water scarcity report, published on Friday, reveals most of the country has now recovered after warnings of significant scarcity were issued relating to areas in the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway.

READ MORE: Petition to block DLC compound at Taymouth castle hits first milestone

Chris Dailly, head of geographic environmental performance at Sepa, said: “Last month was challenging for those businesses reliant on water from the environment. We very much welcome this turnaround in conditions and much-needed revival of river levels.

“It’s served as a reminder of the vital role water plays in many industries in Scotland and the crucial part businesses play in ensuring the sustainability of local water environments.

“As climate change exacerbates water scarcity, it’s imperative that water abstractors understand the impact of their usage and step up their efforts to manage this now and longer-term.”

READ MORE: Crathes Castle's iconic gardens to reopen following revamp

Further rain is forecast across the southern half of Scotland this weekend, which Sepa said may lead to continued recovery in some areas.

However, the body is aware river flows and ground conditions in the north-east, Fife and East Lothian areas have seen less recovery and is advising local abstractors to only use water from burns and rivers when required.