Significant Water Management Issues for Scotland

Closed 19 Jun 2020

Opened 19 Dec 2019

Results updated 30 Aug 2021

The Significant Water Management Issues report was published on 19 December 2019 and is an important part of the river basin planning process. It set out our assessment of the biggest challenges for the future of Scotland’s water environment ahead of the third river basin plans that run from 2021 to 2027. It included a consultation, which was open from 19 December 2019 to 19 June 2020, in which we asked whether or not you agreed with our assessment and prioritisation of these issues. The consultation is part of a wider, ongoing engagement with stakeholders.

Here is the summary of responses to the consultation response we received.



Scotland is renowned worldwide for the quality of its rivers, lochs, wetlands and seas. They are some of the country’s greatest natural assets: attracting visitors, contributing to the health and well-being of its people, supporting a rich diversity of wildlife and providing for the sustainable growth of its economy.

The climate is changing and we are facing a climate emergency. Protecting and restoring our water environment to build resilience from the effects of the changing climate is essential to allow Scotland to prosper.

River Basin Planning, and the legislation which underpins it, is the main way that this work will be delivered in Scotland. The Significant Water Management Issues report is an important part of this process, as it proposes the main issues which need to be tackled in the third River Basin Plan, between 2021 and 2027. This will bring wider benefits, reducing waste and pollution by improving resource efficiency and increasing resilience to climate change.

This consultation covers the whole of Scotland, including all of the Scotland River Basin District, and the parts of the Solway Tweed River Basin District which lie in Scotland.

Responding online will help us collate and analyse the information you provide and we would prefer responses to be submitted through this tool. This consultation is also available on our website. 

Alternatively, if you are unable to access the online tool, you can respond by email to or by writing to SEPA at:

Strathallan House,
Castle Business Park,
FK9 4TZ.

The Environment Agency have also launched a consultation seeking views on the challenges the water environments face and the choices needed to improve and protect this vital and precious resource in England: Water Challenges and Choices Consultation.

This consultation runs from 19 December 2019 to 19 June 2020.



  • Agriculture
  • Mining
  • Distilling
  • Hydropower
  • Local Authorities
  • Responsible Authorities
  • Fisheries
  • Industry
  • Landowners/ managers
  • Forestry
  • Aquaculture
  • National Parks
  • SEPA Staff
  • FRM LAG members
  • Team Unit Managers
  • Department Managers
  • Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC)
  • Management
  • Operations
  • Science and Strategy
  • Public
  • Nuclear Industry
  • Developers
  • EA, SEPA and NRW Staff
  • Water
  • Air
  • Waste
  • Land


  • Bathing waters
  • Water Regulation
  • Diffuse pollution
  • Restoration
  • Fisheries
  • Protected areas
  • Water Quality
  • Water flows and levels