Loch Ness water levels hit 32-year low, raising environmental concerns

Water levels in Loch Ness and the River Ness have sparked concerns as they reached their lowest point in 32 years final month, according to knowledge from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). The Ness fishery board has expressed alarm over the persistently low ranges, suggesting that water saved for hydro-power might be utilised to alleviate the situation. SSE Renewables, the vitality company responsible, claims to be managing water use sensitively in the course of the present challenging climate situations.
Loch Ness, Scotland’s largest freshwater loch by volume, and the River Ness kind a part of the Ness system, which incorporates burns, rivers, and lochs extending south-west of Inverness. On May 24, Sepa recorded a water level of just over 109cm (3.5ft) at Foyers, the site of a pumped storage hydro scheme that utilises water from Loch Ness. This is the lowest degree recorded since December 1, 1990. Though the level has risen slightly since then, it is still classified as “low.”
Sepa has attributed the low water levels to below-average rainfall within the area. In May, the Loch Ness area was one of many driest within the UK, with Inverness receiving solely a third of its usual long-term average rainfall. Below-average rainfall has additionally been recorded in the Ness area throughout winter and spring. On Friday, Sepa increased its water shortage warning for the world to “moderate” and upgraded the danger in the Loch Maree area within the Highlands to “significant.” Additionally, 37 areas across the Firth of Clyde have been placed on “alert.”
The Ness District Salmon Fishery Board, answerable for the protection and enhancement of salmon and sea trout fisheries in the Ness space, has raised serious concerns concerning the health of the River Ness. The river is currently at ranges sometimes seen at the end of July and August, with giant areas drying out. Director Brian Shaw highlighted the implications for wild salmon populations, the river’s conservation status, and its angling categorisation. Issues embrace salmon being unable to simply travel upriver from the ocean and elevated water temperature.
Shaw acknowledged climate change as an element, noting a pattern for drier winters and springs. However, he additionally emphasised the significant impression of hydro-electric era when ranges are low. He pointed out that water is drawn at Dochfour for the Caledonian Canal, which might otherwise flow into the River Ness. Shaw suggested that releasing water saved further up the system at SSE’s Loch Garry and Loch Loyne reservoirs could assist alleviate the situation.
Adrian Shine, a naturalist who has studied Loch Ness for many years, said the loch was at its lowest stage since 1989. Fiona Cairns, a local resident who runs Loch Ness Alpacas, additionally acknowledged that the loch was at its lowest degree in her memory.
SSE Renewables stated the dry climate had affected rivers across the Highlands. Unconditional said that the company’s delicate administration of water had helped preserve larger flows within the River Ness than would have been present with out hydro-power, while also sustaining levels at lochs Loyne and Garry to guard designated nesting websites of protected birds..

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