Aberdeenshire Council supporting users of private supplies as water shortages predicted

Following below average rainfall over the winter months 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 preparing to provide support to properties which experience water shortages and are encouraging everyone to use water wisely. 
 
Both agencies are working with the Scottish Government to assist those in the area whose private supply is running dry, at no cost. 
 
Unlike 2018, we have an opportunity to advise private water supply users that there is an increased risk of their supply running dry and there is the potential that water efficiency measures applied immediately will protect their supply for longer.

Private water supply users are being encouraged to:
 
• Ensure your supply is secure, with no leaks
• Consider moving livestock to an alternative supply
• Take timed showers as opposed to baths
• Ensure washing machine and dishwasher are fully loaded
• Harvest rainwater for gardening use
• Contact neighbours, from a safe distance, to discuss your contingency plan

Understandably the COVID-19 pandemic creates additional challenges in the support we can offer and the options available to affected users. The council is focused - along with partners -to provide the required support, particularly to those who are shielding from the virus.

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. 
 
Environmental Health Team Manager, Louise Cunningham, said: “We have written personally to those who we know were affected in 2018 to highlight the risk this year, particularly to those who did not make improvements to their supply after the issues encountered in 2018.
 
“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 

Further updates will be issued on the Aberdeenshire Council website and social media channels.