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Sustainable Land Management Video Transcript

At Scottish Water we strive to ensure that drinking water supplies are clear, fresh and wholesome. While Scotland's drinking water is typically high quality on occasion substances which are not desirable such as pesticides, nitrates and colour can be found in water sources.

Whether it is contamination or the need to extensively treat raw water, diffuse pollution often stands centre stage as the root cause of compromising the integrity of our raw water supplies. However, remedies can often be found in the surrounding catchment area and Scottish Water is taking definitive action to help protect this precious asset.

Mick Kirkwood, Catchment Coordinator
"I'm a catchment walker for Scottish Water, walking the rivers and burns and streams in the catchment areas in Scotland looking for diffuse pollution. When I'm out walking the catchment I'm looking for agricultural pollution, what they call diffuse pollution. Basically it's cattle, sheep wandering in and out of water, spreading of slurry, pesticides, cultivation too close to the edge of the burns, rivers, things like that.

"The way it affects the water is that if you get a heavy rainfall, you get most of this will wash into the burns and rivers with heavy rainfall. There are general binding rules, GBR's, that farmers and landowners have to adhere to but over and above that we would like to work with these farmers and landowners to achieve best practice to reduce diffuse pollution in our water catchment areas.

"We take samples in our catchment areas, take them back to our labs and get them analysed to find out the exact problem - where the pollution is coming from, what source and whereabouts."

Fundamental to discussions about sustainable land management is the principle that prevention is better than cure. Traditional water treatment is energy, carbon and cost intensive. Working in partnership to protect drinking water sources by managing diffuse pollution in the catchment has the potential to provide real, sustainable results for our customers across Scotland.