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13th July 2017

Hydro Nation Scholarship Programme 2018

Applications are now welcome for project proposals based on our topic themes for 2018. Full details of the programme can be found on the Hydro Nation Scholars website.

The Hydro Nation Scholarship Programme is an open competition for PhD scholars to undertake approved projects hosted within Scottish Universities and Research Institutions.

5th July 2017

Valuing Your Soils workshop Girvan 17th July

The fifth ‘Valuing Your Soils’ awareness raising workshop for farmers is taking place at Girvan Mains farm (KA26 9JD) on 17th July. There will be machinery demos, a tour of an anaerobic digestion plant and open soil pits. Further information will be available shortly.

8th September 2015

Developing simple indicators to assess the role of soils in determining risks to water quality

This project set out to explore the possibility of producing a set of four risk maps that could be used to determine the risk of diffuse pollution occurring within Scottish agricultural catchments. The key soil-based factors likely to affect water quality were deemed to be:
• Sediment and pollutants being transported to water bodies by erosion events
• Compaction, which reduces infiltration and may exacerbate run-off
• Surface run-off
• Leaching of potential    pollutants

Two test catchments were chosen (the Coyle and the East Pow, both sub-catchments of SEPA’s designated priority catchments) as a related project on soil nutrient management was already using these catchments as trial areas.

7th June 2017

Demonstration Test Catchment national consortium

The Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) national consortium invites you to attend a two-day conference hosted at the University of Exeter, UK, on 4th and 5th September 2017.

The conference programme has been finalised.  Bookings are now being taken for this event.

Please note that the deadline for new bookings is 30th June 2017.

Since being commissioned in December 2009, the DTC research programme has developed, tested and promoted cost-effective management options to reduce water pollution from agriculture at the farm to catchment to national scales. The two days will focus on DTC findings and recommendations, and the experience of other observatories and platforms working on water quality and its management.

This event is open to all, from farmers to environment and water professionals, scientists, regulators and policy makers. Discussions will include:

- How do we best characterise the rural water quality problem?

- Which interventions are most attractive to farmers and what can they achieve?

- What knowledge gaps remain?


The conference has been part-funded by Defra from the DTC programme and will have a limited number of keynote talks with emphasis on themed sessions designed to showcase scientific results.


22nd May 2017

Engaging communities around private water supplies

Private water supplies

This project aimed to work with four rural communities to explore engagement around private water supplies (PWS). Approximately 3.4% of the Scottish population uses around 20,000 PWS, predominantly in rural areas (DWQR, 2016).  These drinking
water sources may not provide resilience in dry periods.  In addition, the quality of PWS is highly variable (DWQR, 2016), posing associated health risks. Failures are often due to poor or unmaintained treatment systems and sources with variable quality
(especially during wet weather events).

To be able to improve PWS, it is necessary to understand how to engage with rural communities around the issue, and this project sought to consider this. The Scottish Government is working towards improving the quality of these supplies and this project is an integral part of that work.

14th March 2017

Methods for controlling or eradicating aquatic invasive species

Image of non-native crustacean Hemimysis anomala; Image credit:  NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

This report covers control measures for 13 high or moderate impact, and one ‘alarm’ species on the UKTAG list that were not covered by the Aldridge report for Natural England. It draws information from published and unpublished literature, listed best  practices, technical reports, unpublished reports, project websites and expert knowledge. For each species, a report was written to present essential background information about the ecology and biology of the species. This is followed by a list of  invasion pathways and known techniques to limit further spread. The third section lists successful control measures that encompass biological, chemical, physical and environmental approaches. A final section on further research acts to identify potential knowledge gaps.

9th March 2017

Water Resource Balancing: Is a closed loop system possible that enables sustainable rural supplies?

Water Resource Balancing; Cover photograph courtesy of: Matteo Tamburini, Richard Allan, The James Hutton Institute

The aim of this work was to carry out a mass balance of energy, nutrients and other potential resources at a range of scales (single house, small community and large urban scale). The focus of the study was on waste water treatment and resource  recovery. The study considered whether a closed loop cycle for water and energy was possible in these situations. In doing so, the project team identified technologies, systems and approaches that may need to be adopted to make this possible. Furthermore the project team considered economic factors for selected parameters and approaches as well as taking into account factors such as environmental impact, scalability and life cycle analysis (LCA).

7th March 2017

Valuing your soils: Cultivating resilient farming systems

The fourth ‘Valuing Your Soils’ awareness raising workshop for farmers is taking place at Leitfie farms (near Blairgowrie) on 16th March. There will be machinery demos and open soil pits. For more details on the event please see the SRUC project page.

29th January 2017

Radon in groundwater drinking water supplies in Scotland

Image of water supply

Are radon concentrations in drinking water higher in the high-risk area, where the underlying geology is likely to deliver high radon concentrations in groundwater and indoor-air, than elsewhere in Scotland? What should the minimum allowable radon concentration (parametric value) and action level for remedial action be in drinking water to protect public health from exposure to radon?

This report presents the most recent and comprehensive evidence on radon concentrations in public and private groundwater supplies in Scotland; this evidence is essential for specifying regulations for radon in drinking water in Scotland to protect public health against radon.

1st March 2014

Water quality and radon: Implications for Scotland of the provisions and scope of the Council Directive 2013/51/Euratom for radon in drinking water

The European Commission published a new Directive under the Euratom Treaty (Council Directive 2013/51/Euratom, hereafter reported as the Directive) laying down requirements for the concentrations of radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption. As part of an on-going review of the implications of the Directive for Scotland, the Drinking Water Quality Regulator commissioned CREW to collate evidence on the presence of radon in drinking water and, create a map of ‘areas of likely high exposure’. The evidence review and risk map will inform whether and where any surveys are required in public and private water supplies to help identify a parametric value and monitoring frequencies for radon in Scotland. The CREW output will be aligned with the results of parallel surveys by the Drinking Water Inspectorate in England and Wales before transposing the new Directive to national legislation in Scotland.


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