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Regulator And Operator Collaboration - Scotland's Approach To Wfd Implementation

World Water Congress 2015 Edinburgh Scotland
15. Water law
Author(s): Marcia Banks
Caroline Olbert

Scottish Environment Protection Agency1, Scottish Water2



Scotland has a varied water environment with many small rural public water supplies that are often remote, with limited raw water storage. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are large hydro power and water supply schemes which could have significant impacts on the water environment.

Historically, water regulation in Scotland was piecemeal, which lead to a wide scale lack of monitoring of abstraction rates and compensation flow releases. There was no incentive for the efficient use of water or to ensure that appropriate environmental protection was in place. These historic controls were insufficient to allow the objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) to be met.

The introduction of the WFD in 2005 was seen as an opportunity and a catalyst for action to begin to understand the impact of abstraction in Scotland, and to establish an integrated framework for the protection of the water environment, whilst allowing sustainable social and economic development.

In 2006, SEPA and SW embarked on the first collaborative programme of study to determine where improvements were needed to meet the objectives of WFD. At the time this was a trail blazing approach to delivery of improvements as there was limited guidance due to the UK Environmental Standards still being developed. SEPA and SW worked together to develop and understand what was required and agree pragmatic solutions. Integrated solutions were developed, taking account of other investment needs such as water quality improvements, as well as maintaining security of water supply for customers.

Between 2006 and 2014 studies have been carried out in 102 Water Resource Zones and improvement schemes delivered at 38 of these, with a further 14 improvements planned for the future. These all contributed to the delivery of Scotland's 1st River Basin Management Plan.

This collaborative approach has been continued during the development of the 2nd River Basin Management Plan to deliver the required improvements in Scotland. .*Sub-theme 1: Water supply and demand

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