Will Loch Ness Help Improve Scottish Water Resilience?
Earlier this year, Sir James Bevan – the chief executive of the Environment Agency – made the rather damning assessment that climate change will mean the UK has to face hotter, drier summers and come the year 2040, it’s expected that more than half the summers we see will exceed temperatures recorded in 2003.
Because of this, rivers could see between 50 and 80 per cent less water over the hotter months of the year, which will increase the risk of drought. Take population growth into account (with the UK population forecast to climb from the 67 million it is now to 75 million by 2050) and it seems that we may well have a serious problem where water availability is concerned.
In Scotland, one possible solution to the problem is now being considered – using water pumped from Loch Ness to help supply properties around Inverness and Nairn during dry spells.
According to the BBC, Scottish Water has proposed taking water from the loch as and when required to help support the resilience of local water supply, through the establishment of an underwater intake in the loch itself and a pumping station near Dores.
Water could then be pumped to a water tank at Inverness Water Treatment Works, with planning applications for the project potentially submitted to Highland Council as early as next year.
Scottish Water’s Gavin Steel was quoted by the news source as saying: “We have been in contact with the community in Dores over recent years about the development of this proposed project and have been grateful for their input and their patience.
“This is a significant potential project, which we need to consider carefully to ensure we select the best option to meet the long-term needs of our customers in the Highland capital and beyond.
“We also want to ensure the potential impacts of construction work on local residents and businesses are well managed so that any work leaves a positive legacy for the area.”
The water treatment works is currently supplied by lochs Ashie and Duntelchaig, but Loch Ness has more water in it than all the lakes of both England and Wales combined, making it the largest lake in the UK by volume.
How businesses can help reduce water demand
There is a lot that can be done to reduce the pressure on our water resources around the UK and businesses can start doing their bit by considering solutions such as rainwater harvesting systems.
This involves collecting and storing the rainwater that lands on the roof area of your business premises so it can be filtered and reused in place of mains water. You can use this water for all sorts of applications, whether that’s toilet flushing and vehicle washing or laundry and process water. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with us today.