SCOTLAND IS looking for alternative water supplies because European laws are forcing engineers to partially drain reservoirs and lochs into rivers and streams, a leading consultant said last week.
Exploiting new resources could be less sustainable than using dams and lochs he warned.
'Scottish Water is expecting a 12% average reduction in output for reservoirs and an 80% average reduction in output for lochs, ' said Mott MacDonald associate director Paul Chadwick.
Mott MacDonald has been helping Scottish Water develop its investment requirements for its next spending round.
This runs from 2006 to 2014.
Chadwick was speaking at NCE's Water Framework Directive conference last week.
He warned that water will have to be discharged from lochs and dams to maintain river and stream quality under the terms of the European Water Framework Directive.
As a result less reservoir water will be available for supplies and some lochs will have to be totally abandoned with treatment plants and associated infrastructure shut down.
New sources with associated treatment plant and pipelines will have to be introduced instead.
Many of the new resources will be boreholes, which will require pumping mains to extract water. Chadwick argued that these are much less sustainable than some of the gravity systems that move water from lochs and reservoirs, and will increase operating costs.
The problem is expected to affect Scotland more than England where strict rules on water abstraction already apply.