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Water supply warning after parched May in the Highlands


By Alasdair Fraser

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Water shortage issues may affect private supplies.
Water shortage issues may affect private supplies.

HIGHLAND Council is warning about potential water scarcity across the region amid one of the driest months of May on record.

The local authority’s environmental health team is advising consumers to use their water wisely and check any private water supply systems for signs of leaks or risks of contamination.

Private water supplies are found at properties without a Scottish Water mains connection. These supplies are usually in rural areas and currently there are 2550 private water supplies registered in the Highlands.

Highland residents are being warned that, following below-average rainfall, some private water supplies within the region could run low and that significant rainfall will be required to replenish water levels.

Officers are also advising that where water supplies are untreated or where water treatment systems are unable to be maintained, households should boil water before drinking, cooking and brushing teeth.

Highland Council, in partnership with Scottish Water and the Scottish Government, has set up an Emergency Water Scarcity Scheme to assist people in obtaining safe drinking water during the challenging emergency period.

As part of the scheme, the council can supply and deliver bottled water at no cost, to domestic private water supply users eligible under the scheme.

This assistance comes in addition to the council’s current grant funding scheme offering a grant of up to £800 for longer-term improvements to a private water supply system.

Highland Council’s senior environmental health officer Patricia Sheldon said: “We have recently received a number of calls from vulnerable persons and families concerned about their water supplies.

“It’s very reassuring that, with the help of the Scottish Government, the council can provide support to communities and individuals who are experiencing problems with their domestic private water supplies at this time.

"It’s important that we all look to use our water wisely, particularly if your water comes from a private water supply.

“The council is assisting where we can and I would encourage anyone who has concerns about their private supply to get in touch to discuss short-term solutions to their water consumption needs and to think about longer term solutions to improve their water systems.”

Those requiring assistance under the scheme should contact the environmental health team by email at envhealth@highland.gov.uk or phoning 01349 886603.

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