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Improving services

Drinking water quality

The quality of Scotland’s public drinking water has reached another all-time high. Throughout 2013 we carried out over 318,000 quality tests on regulatory water samples from our water treatment works, service reservoirs and customers’ taps across Scotland. Of these samples, 99.91% of all tests met the strict microbiological and chemical regulatory standards, improving on last year’s performance.


Scottish Water maintains almost 30,000 miles of water pipes and in recent years has actively been reducing leakage towards the economic level of leakage (ELL) - that is the point where the cost of reducing leakage becomes greater than the savings from reduced water production.

In 2013/14, Scottish Water reduced leakage by around 9.5 million litres a day - out-performing our target by 5.6%. This means that leakage has been reduced by around 50% since the introduction of targeted leakage reduction in 2006. As a result, we continue to operate within the ELL range - a Ministerial Objective we achieved in 2012/13, one year ahead of regulatory expectation.

Sustainable land management Our Sustainable Land Management Scheme, launched in April 2012, aims to help find ways of preventing substances such as pesticides and nutrients from entering a number of key supply sources in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway and Argyll and Bute.

The scheme has supported 128 applicants in 2013/14, supporting measures such as Water Environment Management Plans, fencing to stop livestock access to watercourses and the use of alternative pesticides. By improving the quality of the sources for our drinking water supply we believe we can reduce the costs of treatment while helping the wider environment.


In 2013/14 the number of incidents of sewer flooding due to overloading because of heavy rain was reduced by 54%. The number of incidents of sewer flooding due to other causes, such as blockages, was reduced by 25%. Like all water companies in the UK, we design our sewers to cope with well above the average rainfall and most customers will never experience flooding from our sewers. If a sewer overflows because it is choked we will seek to attend within 4 hours if the flooding is inside a property and 24 hours if it is external. We will do whatever we need to clear the public sewer to allow the waste water to flow freely again.