Skip to content
Home >> Node

Rural communities face particular challenges for access to affordable energy, treatment and disposal of waste and the provision of drinking water supplies. The Sustainable Rural Community concept envisions a paradigm shift in delivery of these services and aims to deliver a closed loop system that would be carbon and energy neutral, cost-effective and resilient.

The drivers for this theme include the Hydro Nation Strategy and Scottish Water objectives and include cross-cutting issues such as climate change. Other relevant water policies include the need to improve the quality and resilience of private water supplies driven by compliance with the Drinking Water Directive and the performance of septic tanks to help meet WFD objectives.

CREW is working with Scottish Water, DWQR and SEPA to achieve this vision.

Research needs identified to date include developing the evidence base, quantifying the flow of nutrients, identifying innovative technologies to improve small scale water management, assessing the health risks associated with private water supplies and working with community groups on small scale sustainable drinking water supply and waste water management.

Over 99% of public supplies for drinking water in Scotland complied with current standards. Our public supplies are delivered to our taps via 458 different sources (including rivers, lochs, and springs), 47,000 km of water mains and over 250 water treatment works. In private water supplies, serving 3% of the population, compliance is reduced to 88-94% in some areas.

The drinking water quality standards in Scotland largely stem from the EU Drinking Water Directive and subsequent enabling legislation. Drinking water quality from public water supplies is of high quality, demonstrating a continued improvement in drinking water quality. Challenges still exist around the provision and quality of private supplies.

Research needs identified include long term changes in raw water quality and the impacts of land use change and climate change, the implications of a lead free Scotland, risks to private water supplies, communicating drinking water quality metrics to the public, and the use of innovative technologies to destroy algal blooms

CREW is working with both Scottish Water and the Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) to address pressures and protect drinking water quality.

In 2009, Scotland adopted the Flood Risk Management Act to introduce a more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management, and to better face the impact of climate change. Recently, SEPA published their flood risk and hazard maps. The final stage is in producing national and local flood risk management plans.

CREW is working with Scottish Government, SEPA and Scottish Water on a number of flooding projects most recently on NFM, coastal flooding, flood risk and mental health, and surface water flood forecasting in urban communities. Research needs have been identified to include: public perceptions of uncertainty; effectiveness and transferability of Natural Flood Management measures and; impacts of, and resilience to, climate change

River Basin Management Planning is a requirement of the Water Framework Directive which aims to protect and improve water quality across Europe. Implemented in Scotland via domestic legislation the overarching aim is to achieve ‘good status’ in 97% of water bodies by 2027.

Consultations on both the Scotland and Solway Tweed River Basin Districts have recently been undertaken. The plans were published in 2015 for a six-year planning cycle up to 2021. The consultation gave a high level overview of the main pressures on the water environment and how these should be addressed. Although water quality is generally good, pressures include diffuse pollution from urban and agricultural sources, and alterations to the physical habitat of rivers.

Research priorities are many and varied and include characterisation of urban diffuse pollution, understanding sources and measures for impacts of faecal contamination of shellfish waters and the benefits of restoring the physical condition of rivers.


Subscribe to CREW | Scotland's Centre of Expertise for Waters RSS