Water, wastewater and drainage policy: consultation

This consultation seeks your views on our proposed principles and considerations in developing policy for the future of the water industry in Scotland in response to the climate emergency.

8. Conclusion

It is important that we capture your views to inform the development of policy for the future of the Scottish water industry and how it can respond to the impacts of the climate emergency.

There is a need for us all to play our part in how we protect our services for current and future generations. This consultation allows us to understand the views of those who use water, wastewater and drainage services across Scotland.

We want to ensure that people value the water we have and create great places for the people of Scotland to live in. Please support us in providing your views on the best ways to continue to protect these services from the impacts of the climate emergency.

Responding to this Consultation

We are inviting responses to this consultation by 21 February 2024.

Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government’s consultation hub, Citizen Space (http://consult.gov.scot). Access and respond to this consultation online at https://consult.gov.scot/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/water-wastewater-and-drainage-policy-consultation. You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 21 February 2024.

If you are unable to respond using our consultation hub, please complete the Respondent Information Form to:

Water Policy

Scottish Government

Victoria Quay

The Shore

Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ

Handling your response

If you respond using the consultation hub, you will be directed to the About You page before submitting your response. Please indicate how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are content for your response to published. If you ask for your response not to be published, we will regard it as confidential, and we will treat it accordingly.

All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise.

If you are unable to respond via Citizen Space, please complete and return the Respondent Information Form included in this document.

To find out how we handle your personal data, please see our privacy policy:


Next steps in the process

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at http://consult.gov.scot. If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.

Comments and complaints

If you have any comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted,

please send them to the contact address above or at waterindustry@gov.scot.

Scottish Government consultation process

Consultation is an essential part of the policymaking process. It gives us the opportunity to consider your opinion and expertise on a proposed area of work.

You can find all our consultations online: http://consult.gov.scot. Each consultation details the issues under consideration, as well as a way for you to give us your views, either online, by email or by post.

Responses will be analysed and used as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other available information and evidence. We will publish a report of this analysis for every consultation. Depending on the nature of the consultation exercise the responses received may:

1. indicate the need for policy development or review

2. inform the development of a particular policy

3. help decisions to be made between alternative policy proposals

4. be used to finalise legislation before it is implemented

While details of particular circumstances described in a response to a consultation exercise may usefully inform the policy process, consultation exercises cannot address individual concerns and comments, which should be directed to the relevant public body.


Bioresource – A term used to describe any resource of a biological origin.

Blue-green infrastructure – This refers to incorporating landscape and water design into, often, urban spaces. It refers to incorporating blue elements, like rivers, ponds, water treatment facilities, and green elements, such as trees, parks and land-use planning.

Catchments – The area of land and the water collected in it, especially the collection of rainfall over a natural drainage area.

Combined sewers – A combined sewer connects wastewater from properties and surface water from the premises to the public sewer. Although roads drainage is the responsibility of the local authority, historically many road drains have been connected to our combined sewers.

Drainage ponds – A process of diverting water to a pond.

Flood defences – These are systems put in place to reduce or prevent damage by flood water, they are typically hard structures such as flood barriers and seawalls.

Lead – Lead is a hard and resistant material that was historically used in water service pipes during the 1960s.

Net zero – This means the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we put into the atmosphere and the amount we’re able to take out will add up to zero.

Orthophosphate – This is used to effectively prevent any lead from reaching the drinking supply.

Overflows – Allow excess storm water to spill in a controlled manner from the sewerage system into watercourses in the event of prolonged or heavy rainfall.

Phosphorus – This is used to effectively prevent any lead from reaching the drinking supply.

Pipelines – Pipelines are used to transport water for drinking or irrigation over long distances.

Pollutant – A water pollutant is a substance that contaminates the water. It may be caused by human or natural activities.

Private wastewater systems – If a pipe leaves a property and does not connect to the public sewer network at any point, then it would be considered to be a private sewer.

Public bodies – A formally established organisation that is publicly funded to deliver a public or government service.

Public sewers – are the systems of pipes and drainage structures which carry wastewater from its origin to a treatment centre where pollutants are removed before the treated effluent is safely discharged into water bodies. Includes foul, combined and surface water sewers in the ownership of Scottish Water.

Rain gardens – A garden that lies below the level of its surroundings, designed to absorb rainwater that runs off from a surface such as a patio or roof.

Rateable Value – Unmeasured charges, such as property and roads drainage, are calculated by reference to rateable values. These charges relate to the costs of dealing with rainwater that enters Scottish Water's sewers from private property and public roads across Scotland.

Regulated Supplies – supplies serve a variety of premises, e.g. holiday lets, B&Bs, hotels, caravan parks/campsites, schools, community halls and a range of other facilities. Type B supplies are all other domestic private water supplies, many of which serve single properties.

Reservoirs – a large natural or artificial lake used as a source of water supply.

Resource recovery – This is the process of obtaining material or energy resources from discarded solid waste.

Run-off – the draining away of water (or substances carried in it) from the surface of an area of land, a building or structure.

Septic tanks – A means to treat wastewater from your property which is not connected to the public wastewater system. It is usually either a large rectangular box made of brick, stone or concrete, or a bottle-shaped plastic tank buried underground not far from the property it serves.

Sludge – This is the material left over from the water treatment process, specifically the clarification and filtration processes. This is currently disposed of either to landfill, or by passing it directly to the sewer where it can be treated in a wastewater treatment works.

Surveillance monitoring – the act of tracking and measuring pathogen levels in wastewater.

Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) – a natural approach to managing drainage in and around properties and developments. They work by slowing and holding back water that runs off from a site. They help manage and control surface water.

Treatment works – the infrastructure which removes contaminants from water.

Wastewater – Wastewater describes used water from households, businesses, industrial and agricultural settings as well as surface water from our environment. Wastewater can include waste from toilets, sinks and showers and rainwater from roofs and gardens.

Water butt – A container for storing rain water which can then be used to water gardens or clean driveways etc.

Water courses – A natural or artificial channel through which water flows. This could be a river, canal etc.

Water Resilient places – this is the ability for places to adapt to changes in the availability of water resources.

Water resource planning – the process of planning, developing and managing water resources. This could include infrastructure, incentives and institutions that support and guide water management.


Email: waterindustry@gov.scot

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