Aberdeenshire Council seeking Government help over private water supplies

Water table levels remain at levels much lower than would be expected at this time of year
Water table levels remain at levels much lower than would be expected at this time of year

Aberdeenshire Council is to write to the Scottish Environment Minister to seek urgent help in getting more North-east homes with private water supplies connected to the mains network.

Having helped some 350 homes which suffered serious water shortages last year, the local authority said it was mindful that 2018 may not be a “one-off event”.

Last year’s dry weather, reported officers, was “unprecedented” in terms of the extent of problems for private water supplies.

The £114,000 the council spent on providing intermediate bulk containers and bottled water for those in need, is currently being reclaimed from the Scottish Government.

And latest surveys indicate that although no properties are currently being assisted by the council, water table levels remain at levels “much lower” than would be expected at this time of year.

Members of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee unanimously agreed that chair Peter Argyle write to Roseanna Cunningham seeking both the assistance of the Scottish Government and Scottish Water to mitigate against future shortages.

They heard that Aberdeenshire has more than 11,000 properties – both domestic and non-domestic – which rely on private water supplies – the largest number of any local authority area in Scotland.

While the upkeep of private water supplies is the responsibility of the property owner or landowner, supplies are vulnerable to fluctuations in quality and quantity, and are often not adequately maintained.

In his letter to Ms Cunningham, Councillor Argyle states: “The public supply has many advantages over private water supplies and the overall aim should be to see as many properties as possible connected to the mains network.

“The mains network should be extended to enable connections to be made, thereby reducing the number of properties on private supplies.

“While it is recognised that it will not be possible to connect all properties to the public supply there are particular clusters of properties where it would be possible to do so.”

The council also wants to see property owners being better educated in terms of water usage and a simplification of Scottish Water’s process for those wishing to connect to the mains.