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News & Blog

Keeping Scotland’s Water Flowing – April 2020

Posted: 14th April 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is presenting an unprecedented challenge to people across Scotland. It is being met by an extraordinary response from our NHS and right across our communities.

We wanted to give you a quick update on the steps that Scottish Water is taking to ensure we can maintain supplies of clear, fresh and great-tasting drinking water; and continue treating the country’s waste water so that it can be safely returned to the environment.

This newsletter includes information about how customers and communities can help our local frontline teams to keep Scotland’s water flowing, especially at this challenging time. It also highlights resources to help parents and carers looking for fun educational materials and activities to use with children at home.

Maintaining the essential services that our customers rely upon

Scottish Water’s first priority at this time is maintaining the provision of water and waste water services to our customers across the country, whilst protecting the health of our employees, supply chain and communities.

Our frontline teams are continuing to work around the clock to keep customers supplied with water and treat the country’s waste water, following new procedures wherever necessary to safeguard their health and that of our customers. They are supported by colleagues in a range of office-based roles who are working from home, with all main Scottish Water offices currently closed.

It remains necessary for Scottish Water to carry out some essential works. You may see our frontline teams and key supply chain partners working to fix burst water mains, carry out urgent sewer repairs or clear blockages, which may require groundworks and machinery. Please be assured that the work taking place is essential to ensure customers continue to receive a consistently high level of service. All contractors carrying out essential work for Scottish Water have their own measures in place to ensure government and Construction Leadership Council guidelines are followed, including on social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect the health of their teams.

We are grateful for the understanding and support of our customers and communities, including in response to changes which have been made to avoid close contact being required between customers and our frontline teams.

Click here for the latest Scottish Water update on Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pausing our investment programme

Following guidance from the Scottish Government, construction activity linked to our capital investment programme was suspended last month to protect public health and limit potential to contribute to the spread of the virus.

Site teams took steps to ensure that working areas were left safe and secure, while enabling construction activity to be stopped and sites closed as quickly as possible. All inactive sites will continue to be monitored regularly while restrictions remain in place.

Following an immediate review of our programme, a small number of projects are continuing as they have been identified as critical for maintaining service to our customers and the safety of our frontline teams. Activity on these projects is being managed with great care to minimise risk to employees, contractors and communities.

Some planning and preparation work is also continuing to support the resumption of long term investment in the future of water and waste water services when the situation allows.

Help us battle blockages by binning toilet unflushables

While our teams are working around the clock to keep Scotland’s water cycle flowing, we are asking everyone across our communities to help play their part.

In the final two weeks of March, our local sewer response teams attended and cleared a total of 1,343 blocked sewer pipes across the country.

Potential alternatives to toilet paper like wipes, kitchen roll, blue roll and others are not designed to break up in the sewer system – and risk causing internal flooding to homes, avoidable health risks and environmental pollution.

Especially at this time, we are asking customers to help us keep the waste water network flowing by only flushing the 3Ps – pee, poo and toilet paper. Anything else should be put in a bag and disposed of in the bin.

Please help us by sharing and supporting this message in your community:

 Follow us on our main Facebook and Twitter pages for regular updates and new content that you can share. Thank you for anything you can do to help.

Useful resources for parents and carers

We know that in the current situation, many parents and carers have to entertain and educate children at home, while juggling their own work and other roles.

We have a great range of online materials, games and activities that can help – suitable for children from pre-school years to S3. The resources provide a fun introduction to the water cycle, the way our bodies rely on water, the environment and how to save water.

Click here to visit our Scottish Water education resources

Your Water Your Life

Scottish Water’s ‘Your Water Your Life’ campaign continues to highlight the benefits of topping up regularly with clear, fresh and great-tasting tap water. Topping up from the tap is good for the planet, your pocket and great for your health too.

We’re continuing to encourage everyone to use their tap water to stay healthy and hydrated – whether they are working from home, delivering essential services for our communities or exercising in their local area.  Keep an eye out for content on our social media channels that you can share to support the campaign.

At the current time, the network of Top Up Taps that we have been establishing across the country has been temporarily taken out of operation. This enables us to focus our resources on continuing to provide excellent drinking water and waste water services to homes and businesses. We apologise for any inconvenience and look forward to bringing our Top Up Taps back into use as soon as the situation allows.

Click here to find out more about the campaign

Meet the people who keep the water flowing

Over the coming weeks, we will be highlighting some of the people playing essential but often unseen roles in keeping Scotland’s water flowing, 24 hours a day.   

You can read here about the way Colin Luke and our Water Operations team in Orkney are adapting to new ways of working

Dougal Leslie and our Sewer Response teams in the Highlands have a vital role in protecting customers and the environment from sewer blockages and flooding – but they need your help.

Keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages for more stories and perspectives from our teams working to maintain the essential services that we all rely upon.

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