More boreholes used as Arran struggles to meet water demand

The Balmichael water treatment plant.

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By Colin Smeeton

The recent spell of warm weather and the lack of rain to replenish supplies has prompted a 22 per cent increase in demand for water on Arran.

Scottish Water attributes the higher demand to additional visitors and the sunny weather which has seen the publicly-owned water company having to produce more than 200 million litres of extra water per day nationwide to maintain normal supplies.

On Arran additional boreholes have been brought online to cope with the demand for the area which normally uses around 270 million litres of water each year.

Most of the southern half of Arran’s water supply, from Brodick to Blackwaterfoot and Machrie, is taken from water beneath the ground which is accessed by boreholes before being treated at water treatments plants, including one at Balmichael.

Because of this increase in demand Scottish Water is reminding people across Scotland to use water efficiently, particularly summer visitors to rural and island communities, but also customers throughout the country.

Last week, demand across the country was so high that Scottish Water had to provide 100 million litres of extra water per day, compared with normal levels at this time of year, and as temperatures soared in much of the country, this increased to more than 200 million litres of extra water per day over the weekend.

On Sunday, demand for water in some areas of Scotland increased by about 40 per cent and Scottish Water had to tanker in extra water supplies to many parts of the country to maintain supplies.

On Arran and in the Fort William area, additional boreholes have been brought online and additional river pumps and boreholes have been utilised on the Moray coast.

To maintain normal supplies Scottish Water is producing more water where water treatment works have the capacity, using storage and moving water between networks where possible.

Kes Juskowiak, Scottish Water’s water operations general manager, said: ‘These are very challenging conditions because of the warm, dry weather we’ve been experiencing and the forecast for the coming days is for more of the same.

‘Water levels in our reservoirs are at 74 per cent. This is a fall from 77 per cent last week and from 90 per cent in late May.

‘Current levels are below average for this time of year but the main issue is demand for water from customers, which has increased considerably during the warm weather.

‘It’s not isolated to one group but rather is the result of how we all use water in warm weather, particularly in the garden.

‘When garden water use increases dramatically, for things like sprinklers and paddling pools, that places considerable strain across our infrastructure to move the water as quickly as the customers need it.

‘We are working hard to support the increase in tourism across our wonderful country, but we are asking all our customers to be more water efficient and aware of how they use water.

‘If people across the country – residents and visitors – can take some small, simple steps to reduce their water use, they can make a big contribution towards our efforts to maintain normal supplies for everyone and if we can reduce demand it will also be good for the environment as there will be fewer tankers on the roads.’

A Scottish Water spokesman told the Arran Banner: ‘We are currently seeing a 22 per cent increase in water demand across Arran compared to normal due to the current warm weather and increased visitors.

‘Our operational teams continue to monitor the situation and will make any required changes to our assets and network to continue to maintain normal supplies.

‘We are, however, requesting that our customers help by using water efficiently during this warm and dry spell.’

Tips on how to save water, along with interesting facts and figures, can be found on the Sottish Water website at

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