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The east of Scotland is worst affected as prolonged dry weather leaves levels "critically low". part-time

More rivers hit by significant water scarcity

Another river in eastern Scotland has hit significant water scarcity levels with more expected to follow.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said the River Tyne in East Lothian was now "critically low".

It joins the River Tweed in the Borders which has already seen water extraction suspended.

Sepa said the River Ythan in Aberdeenshire was also expected to reach significant scarcity in the coming days despite some recent rain.

Businesses using the River Tyne are being contacted about possible suspension of licences to extract water.

A ban is already in place on the Tweed as efforts continue to prevent further harm and "potentially irreversible damage".

Nathan Critchlow-Watton, Sepa's head of water and planning, said that despite some recent rainfall it had not made up for "long-term deficits" on the rivers involved.

"With more prolonged dry weather forecast, we will continue to monitor conditions and take appropriate action until the risk of water scarcity has reduced," he said.

"Suspensions are part of Scotland's national water scarcity plan, which is designed to ensure the correct balance is struck between protecting the environment and providing resource for human and economic activity during prolonged dry periods.

"They are a last resort and Sepa only takes such action when the evidence tells us it can no longer be avoided."

He said it was vital that businesses reliant on local water supplies were prepared for these conditions as climate change meant scarcity was becoming a more regular occurrence.

"We are already seeing that this summer and we are committed to working with those affected now and in the future to help them build resilience," he said.

The River Tweed Commission has welcomed the ban on water abstraction in its area but has criticised the current system as "inadequate" to protect fish stocks.

NFU Scotland has warned that the suspension of licences will be "damaging" to vegetable growers in the area.

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