Water resources management plan consultation

Closed 4 Jun 2021

Opened 18 Dec 2020


Everyday the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment, helping communities and businesses thrive within the resources of our planet. This is the basis of One Planet Prosperity – Our Regulatory Strategy. This strategy sets out ways we will work in partnership with businesses, through a sector approach, helping them reduce their use of water, energy and materials and minimise waste production.

Figure 1 - environmental flows, inputs and outputs

The strategy also sets out the need for SEPA to increasingly help Scotland’s society tackle major environmental challenges such as climate change and its consequences, such as the impact on water availability.

Water in the right place, in the right amount and of the right quality underpins Scotland’s society and economy. Our water environment provides us with:

  • vital supplies for drinking and food production;
  • supports business, industry and tourism;
  • maintains places that benefit the health and wellbeing of communities and sustains wildlife.

A downloadable pdf is available below. Continue for the full online consultation.

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Why your views matter

Our abstraction licensing system protects the water environment but during past droughts additional actions have been required. These are set out in the National Water Scarcity Plan. These actions were based around the availability of water at the time rather than following contingency plans where alternatives are planned in advance. A more proactive approach is required if we are to increase the resilience of businesses and reduce the pressure on the water environment during droughts.  Water management in the future must be fully adapted to face the climate change challenges to come. Scotland will then be able to sustain social and economic success because water is valued and used wisely.

Figure 2: SEPA’s changing approach to managing water scarcity

Figure 2: SEPA’s changing approach to managing water scarcity  - moving from reactive to better prepared to adapted and resilient

To achieve these outcomes we need some practical actions. These actions will help us move further away from a reactive approach to one which is more adapted to a future climate. The development of these actions must be collaborative.  This consultation sets out the actions on water management we believe will help us deliver a more sustainable and resilient use of water. We are seeking your views on whether these are the correct actions and encourage your participation in developing these actions further.


  • Agriculture
  • Distilling
  • Hydropower
  • Local Authorities
  • Responsible Authorities
  • Fisheries
  • Industry
  • Landowners/ managers
  • Aquaculture
  • Public
  • Water


  • Water Regulation
  • Fisheries
  • Water Quality
  • Water flows and levels
  • Regulated activities