Water scarcity - please keep using water wisely, Council supporting users of private supplies

As warm, dry weather continues in Aberdeenshire, there is increasing pressure on water supplies and forecast rain is not expected to replenish supplies sufficiently.

Aberdeenshire Council and Scottish Water are continuing to provide support to a number of properties experiencing water shortages and are encouraging everyone to use water wisely.

Both agencies are working with the Scottish Government to provide bottled water and tanks to those in the area whose private supply is running dry, at no cost.

Council teams are already dealing with requests relating to around 40 water supplies, serving around 60 properties, a number which is expected to increase.

The council has delivered, or householders have collected, 2,500 1.5 litre bottles of water. Fifteen 1,000-litre bowsers have been issued and filled by the Council, which will be refilled as required.

There are more than 7,500 private water supplies in Aberdeenshire – the highest number in the country.

Given the limited capacity of the council, priority is being given to elderly, disabled or ill occupiers and householders may have to augment the supplies the council provides with water from other sources.

Significant rainfall over a prolonged period is required to replenish some supplies, but this is not expected in the near future.

There are warnings that when rain does fall, private supplies could become contaminated and users should be wary.

Users of untreated supplies should ensure they boil water before drinking, cooking and brushing teeth. Those using such supplies may be eligible for grant funding towards treatment – contact the council’s Environmental Health team for information.

Long term, the council is providing advice on future solutions to improve water security, such as support to help connect to the mains. If that is not possible, improvements to the current source or forming a new supply can be considered and grants may be available for some of this work.

Environmental Health Team Manager, Louise Cunningham, said: “Most people will be well aware of how recent weather conditions have been affecting the country, but those with private water supplies in Aberdeenshire are acutely aware of the impact it’s having.

“Clearly we all have to use water wisely at times like this, but around 11,500 properties in Aberdeenshire are served by private water supplies, by far the highest number of any local authority in Scotland, and difficulties for these residents could be pronounced.

“We are assisting where we can and would encourage anyone who is having issues with their private supply to get in touch with us, both about short term solutions and thinking about the longer term.

“When rain does come, users of private supplies should be aware that following an extended dry period the water will not be absorbed by the ground quickly and has the potential to run over ground for longer, potentially contaminating some supplies.”

If you need assistance in relation to water supplies, please contact the council by phoning 01467 539539 (during office hours) or by emailing: environmental@aberdeenshire.gov.uk
Some useful advice is also available on the Scottish Water website