Scotland’s future as a ‘hydro nation’ as set out in the Water Resources (Scotland) Bill is to be scrutinised by the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.
The Scottish Government’s intention is that the Bill should set a framework for making the most of Scotland’s water resource, seeking to develop and improve its management as a key part of achieving the Government’s wider Hydro Nation agenda. As such, the Bill proposes legislation across a broad range of topics relating to water and sewerage services in Scotland.
Speaking as the Committee launched its call for evidence, Convener Maureen Watt MSP said:
“With this bill, we will be looking to see whether the proposals it contains will deliver the good intentions of Hydro Nation. It is in everyone’s interests that our valuable resources are both protected and utilised appropriately.
“The core role of our Committee is to scrutinise the policies put forward by the Scottish Government that impact on Scotland’s resources, whether natural or man-made. We are asking people to write to us over summer so that we can read and reflect on the evidence before determining who we wish to come in and talk to us in autumn.”
The Committee has issued a detailed call for evidence to help it assess the views of individuals and organisations on the content of the bill, specifically:
- Development of water resources
- Control of water abstraction
- Scottish water’s functions
- Raw water quality
- Non-domestic services
- Sewerage quality
- Water shortages orders
To contribute to this inquiry, you can complete a list of specific questions.
Included within the bill are specific proposals to create:
- A new duty on the Scottish Ministers to ensure the value of Scotland’s water resources is developed through the Hydro Nation programme and requires them to report to the Scottish Parliament every three years on the fulfilment of that duty.
- A new duty on Scottish Water to promote the use of its assets for the generation of renewable energy, whilst safeguarding the fulfilment of its core water and sewerage functions.
- Additional powers of entry by Scottish Water for the purpose of monitoring the quality of “raw water” (water that may be used for human consumption) and for the purpose of investigating anything that may be affecting the quality of such water.
- A new offence regarding fat, oil and grease from non-domestic properties being discharged into public sewers. Breaches of the offence would be subject to a maximum term of imprisonment of up to 12 years, and a fine of up to £40,000.
It is anticipated that the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee will be designated by the Scottish Parliament as the lead committee for Stage 1 consideration of the Bill.
The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee expects to consider written submissions and to take oral evidence from September to early November, before reporting on the Bill’s general principles towards the end of November 2012.
Images show the Convener visiting Turret Water Treatment Works to hear about how Scottish Water has used the site to generate energy for powering the plant as well as 450 homes. The Bill includes proposals to place a duty on Scottish Water to develop the value of its assets and expertise and to promote the use of its assets for the generation of renewable energy, and the Convener was keen to see first-hand.